WCGSports: Miami men’s basketball continues battle after win over Cavaliers

The team was on its heels the entire game, but the Miami Hurricanes were able to stay in front most of the game as they held off the Virginia Cavaliers 64-61.

Virginia guard London Perrantes missed a game-tying three-pointer from halfcourt as time expired to secure the victory.

The hero from the game was junior forward Davon Reed, who had a career high of 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the three-point line. He got the Canes going offensively early on with two three-pointers and he hit two more at the beginning of the second half. Reed also sank two free throws to safely put the Canes up by three late in the game.

After a slow offensive start for both teams, Miami led 30-25 at halftime thanks to a floater from three-point range by guard Sheldon McClellan as time expired. McClellan would finish with 11 points.

The story of the second half became a catch-up game for Virginia when Miami would go up by more than two possessions. After Miami went up 39-29, senior guard Malcolm Brogdon helped Virginia cut the lead back down to a one possession game with 15 minutes to go. Brogdon, who is a candidate with McClellan for ACC Player of the Year, finished with a game-high 28 points.

At the final media timeout with less than four minutes to play, Miami led 60-52 and seemed to be in control of the game. Brogdon then hit two shots and Perrantes made a layup to make it a 60-59 game.

Miami could have put Virginia away a little sooner, but they only shot 60 percent from the foul line, going 12-of-20. Free-throw shooting along with poor rebounding allowed Virginia to continue to creep back into the ball game.

If I were Coach Jim Larrañaga, I would work to formulate a plan for interior post defense when center Tonye Jekiri goes to the bench. Forward Kamari Murphy seems likes the best option to cover the other teams’ centers as he finished the game with 11 rebounds.

Monday night’s win was a statement victory for the Canes as the team moved within a half game of North Carolina in the ACC standings and continue to battle for the regular season title. The home finale against Louisville takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.