With one minute and nine second left in the game, Harlond Beverly collected a defensive rebound after Pitt’s Trey Mcgowens missed a lay-up, and expertly dashed down the court, laying up a floater from the free throw line.
Beverly only played eight minutes in the second half, but the Miami freshman guard stepped up in a big way after starting point guard Chris Lykes fouled out of the game with eight minutes to go in the second half of Miami’s (10-5, 2-3) 66-58 win over Pitt (11-5, 2-3).
“His last seven or eight minutes of the game were the difference,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “I was so mad at him in the first half because we called a play and he didn’t run it and turned it over instead. Chris fouls out and now the responsibility of running our team is already on him, a freshman, who I’m already really mad at. And then he goes out there and plays like a veteran.”
Beverly finished the game with six points and five assists, while Lykes, despite playing 19 minutes, managed to score 12 points and dish out four assists. Lykes was one of three Miami players who scored in double-digit figures Sunday night at the Watsco Center.
Miami’s other guard, senior DJ Vasiljevic, who along with Sam Waardenburg, played all 40 minutes of the game. The hot-handed guard known for his 3-point shooting contributed 13 points, with four made 3-point shots in the game.
“We really don’t want to play a guy 40 minutes,” Larrañaga said. “DJ he had some great looks and I could just see fatigue. I got mad at him because he makes all those shots and he said after, ‘I was exhausted’ but I think part of that is good because you should be exhausted because you played really, really hard and when you play really hard, you get tired.”
Miami jumped out to an early 16-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game after redshirt junior Kameron McGusty made two 3-point shots and a dunk to account for half of the Canes lead.
McGusty scored a team high 19 points, shooting 8-12 from field goal range and 3-7 from 3-point range.
“He makes shots, some of them are not that easy either. He is playing really well,” Larrañaga said on McGusty.
But Pitt came roaring back after the first eight minutes of the game to close the lead to just two points at 20-18 with nine minutes left in the first half. Pitt guard Trey McGowens, a 6’4 sophomore, accounted for 12 of the team’s 22 first half points.
With a 31-22 lead to start the second half, Miami opened with a 15-4 run that gave the them a 20 point lead. Similar to the first half, Pitt responded with a 17-2 run of their own that diminished Miami’s lead to 49-43 at the eight minute mark of the second half.
The teams traded baskets for the next five minutes, but two clutch baskets from Beverly, back-to-back baskets from Waardenburg, and a blocked shot by Rodney Miller sealed the win for Miami.
“That was a very hard fought game. We struggled a little bit against their zone but in the end they really kept the lead and were able to finish,” Larrañaga said.
Waardenburg, who also played all 40 minutes, finished the game with seven points and 10 rebounds. Miller, who had stitches put into his head at halftime, contributed seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Today’s win was only Miami’s second conference win of the season and the Canes have two big ACC matchups this week, including a trip to North Carolina State and a visit from in-state rival Florida State on Saturday.