Team starts strong but struggles in ACC

Sophomore guard Garrius Adams attempts to steal the ball from Boston College guard Danny Rubin late in the second half. Adams accounted for a team-high 3 steals in the contest. Alex Broadwell // The Miami Hurricane

It’s time for a strong ACC run for the Miami Hurricanes.

As the ACC season continues, the Hurricanes will have their sights on finishing with a winning conference record and getting back into the NCAA Tournament.

The Canes picked up their first ACC win of the year when they won on their home court against Boston College, 72-71. Sophomore guard Durand Scott led the Hurricanes with 19 points and the orange and green made stops down the stretch to seal the win.

But the Hurricanes have had ups-and-downs over the winter break.

The Hurricanes let a 10-point halftime lead slip away against Central Florida, as sophomore guard Marcus Jordan, son of Michael, scored 23 points and led his team to a 84-78 win over the Canes at the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BankAtlantic Center.

The loss ended the Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak, which included a 79-76 win against last year’s Final Four team West Virginia.

The Hurricanes went on to win their next four games, including a trip to Las Vegas where Miami defeated Oral Roberts, Rice and Akron.

The Hurricanes were on the road for their first ACC game of the season when they squared off with the Duke Blue Devils, defending national champions.

Despite fighting foul trouble, redshirt sophomore forward Reggie Johnson tied his career high with 22 points for the Hurricanes and had nine rebounds in 27 minutes. However, the Canes struggled from the 3-point line.

Miami missed 14 of 17 3-point attempts and shot 37 percent for the entire game, which cost them a shot to upset the champions, ultimately losing 74-63.

“It’s kind of demoralizing when you have those bunnies around the hoop and you don’t make them,” Coach Frank Haith said after the loss. “We missed a lot of those in the first half. We had some open looks there at the end. Guys who normally make shots and we just didn’t knock them down.”

Six days later the Hurricanes were on the road again, this time in Death Valley, where they dropped their second consecutive ACC game to Clemson, 79-72.

The Canes got within 74-71 after Scott hit a banker with 1:16 remaining, but Clemson buried a floating jumper as the shot clocked expired. Scott finished with a game-high 24 points, his seventh career 20-point game and fourth of the season.

“They were making some tough baskets,” Scott said after the game. “We just tried to fight as hard as we can and try to stay in the game. The most we can do is stay together.”

All year, three key players have led Miami.

The Hurricanes are the only team to have two scorers among the ACC’s top 10 and three scorers among the ACC’s top 20. The back court is lead by Scott with 14.2 points per game and redshirt junior Malcolm Grant with 15 points per game. Johnson averages 12.1 points per game and is third in the ACC with 9.6 rebounds per game.

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at