Miami goes cold in final minutes to fall to Boston College

Photo credit: Josh White

Once again, Miami went cold at the worst time.

After leading 70-63 with just over six minutes remaining, UM allowed Boston College to go on a late 9-0 run capped off by go-ahead free-throws from guard Ky Bowman with 2.9 seconds left. This lifted the Eagles to a 72-70 victory over the No. 25-ranked Hurricanes Saturday afternoon in the Conte Forum.

The loss snaps Miami’s (18-6, 7-5 ACC) three-game winning streak. The win for Boston College (15-10, 5-7 ACC) keeps it in the thick of the ACC standings.

Guard Jerome Robinson dropped in a game-high 29 points and his backcourt mate Bowman added 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Boston College.

The Hurricanes were led by guards DJ Vasiljevic and Chris Lykes, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively.

The contest went back and forth throughout, featuring 13 ties and 16 lead changes. There were moments when it seemed like the Canes were beginning to pull away, but they went scoreless the final six minutes.

A combination of turnovers, five of which came in the final stretch, poor shot selection and good defense from the Eagles contributed to the deficient offensive display in crunch time.

Miami freshman Lonnie Walker IV, who was riddled with foul trouble in a six-point performance, looked to have a shot at a breakaway layup to push the lead to four with just under two minutes left, but BC’s Steffon Mitchell came up with a huge chase-down block – one of his four rejections on the day – and Robinson tied up the game at the charity stripe on the ensuing fast-break.

On the other end, Robinson and Bowman, who both played all 40 minutes, were simply having their way with the Hurricanes all night. They combined to score all of Boston College’s final 24 points in the last 16 minutes of the game, and Miami had no answer for the duo from North Carolina.

The Eagles trailed 44-43 coming out of halftime, and that’s when Robinson started to assert himself.

The junior, second in the ACC in scoring only to Duke phenom Marvin Bagley III, was able to get wherever he wanted on the floor, and that usually meant the rim. Robinson made nine trips to the free-throw line – hitting eight of them – and nailed 66 percent of his shots to lead BC.

Bowman did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 points while drilling some tough shots.

Bowman and Vasiljevic opened the game going shot-for-shot. Miami’s sophomore sharpshooter connected on his first three looks from long distance.

Senior guard Ja’Quan Newton gave Miami associate head coach Chris Caputo, filling in for Jim Larrañaga who was dealing with an illness, good minutes off the bench in the opening half, when he repeatedly attacked the paint for seven of his 11 points.

Junior forward Anthony Lawrence II scored just six points, but his all-around play showed up in his team-leading nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. He also had several deflections that led to steals, using his defensive activity to give the Canes additional opportunities.

The loss puts Miami in a tough spot as it hosts No. 2 Virginia at 9 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Watsco Center. As the Hurricanes still look for a signature win, this matchup may be their toughest of the season.