The No. 21 Hurricanes traveled to Lincoln for a heated matchup against Nebraska on Tuesday night. It was hotly contested throughout, but the Canes were able to escape with a 77-72 overtime victory in the final seconds.
The first half was marked by up and down play from both teams. In the opening minutes, redshirt senior guard Sheldon McClellan drained a three to reach the 1500-point milestone for his career. He followed this up with a strong first-half performance with seven points heading into the locker room. However, the real star of the first half was true freshman forward Anthony Lawrence.
In a coming out party of sorts, Lawrence, who came into the game averaging only five points per game, doubled that in the first half alone. This flurry of points included a monstrous put-back dunk that set the tone for the Canes.
Miami’s defense was another story in the first half. Coming off a lackluster effort in an upset loss to Northeastern, many expected the Canes (6-1) to step it up on defense. Unfortunately, the Canes had difficulty guarding against the three ball for the second game in a row as they allowed Nebraska to make six threes in the first half. Even with a poor defensive effort, the Canes escaped the first half with a 37-36 lead.
The second half was almost the opposite of the first, as both teams’ halftime adjustments were very apparent. The Canes came out much more focused on defense, holding Nebraska (5-3) to only three three-pointers in the second half. On the other hand, the offense sputtered a bit and didn’t pick back up until the end of regulation. Redshirt senior guard Angel Rodriguez, who scored a team-high 15 points, had an opportunity to make yet another clutch three as time expired but was unable to convert on a desperation heave as the buzzer sounded.
Both teams started lethargically in overtime but the intensity picked up in the last three minutes of the extra period. Rodriguez came up with a clutch steal, and junior guard Devon Reed chipped in with a clutch three for his only field goal of the night to put the Canes up for good.
The Hurricanes next play Charlotte at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the BankUnited Center.