The Miami Hurricanes fell to Virginia Tech 80-76 in yet another gut wrenching close loss that now seems all too familiar.
Close games and close losses have been a pattern all season, but the hard fought plays, explosive offense in the second half, and a controversial game tying shot made this one all the more painful.
The first chunk of the game more resembled hockey than basketball as neither team scored a single point more than four minutes in. Despite a hot start for Kam McGusty, Miami’s offense struggled throughout the half. That being said, Virginia Tech had trouble getting through the stingy Hurricanes defense as well. Both teams put on a defensive show as Virginia Tech went into halftime leading by three.
The second half was a completely different game. Both offenses exploded, leading to Miami’s highest scoring half of the season. While he started off slowly, sophomore guard Isaiah Wong was electric in the second half, putting up nine points, all on 3-point shots, including a go ahead jump shot with only two seconds remaining.
With the Hurricanes up 74-71, Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor made a questionable 3-point jumper to tie the game. While the refs let the shot go, many who saw replays noted that Cattoor’s foot appeared to be out of bounds before taking the shot. Nonetheless, the Hokies took the game into overtime and won and did not allow Miami to score a single field goal in the overtime period.
“Both sides deserve a lot of credit,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said after the game. Thought our guys did a great job. I know there were several very close calls at the end and sometimes you got to really catch a break to win a game like that. It’s a strange ending to a game if in fact the guy who made that game tying shot was out of bounds, I would be very disappointed if I found out that was a violation.”
“I give the credit to Virginia Tech,” Wong said. “We played [with] just the same as energy as them and we played as hard as they did and we just fell short.”
Miami will face a tough opponent in UNC this coming Monday in what should be a competitive game if the Hurricanes play with the same energy as they did against Duke and Virginia Tech. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb 8 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill North Carolina.