With only one day of rest between games, the Canes headed to Charlottesville, Virginia looking to be the second team to upset the No. 21 University of Virginia Cavaliers at home. The Canes fought strong in the first half, but mistakes cost the team the game at the John Paul Jones Arena as they fell 62-51 to the Cavaliers.
“We played 35 good minutes,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “The last four to five minutes of the first half killed us.”
Miami started off the first six minutes of the half competitive, leading 11-10 going into the first media timeout. However, the Cavaliers (16-6, 12-4 ACC) soon found their momentum and took control, capitalizing off of Miami turnovers. The Canes (7-16, 3-15 ACC) had seven turnovers in the first half and gave up 11 points, sinking the team into an 11-point deficit.
Coming out the locker room, the Canes still struggled to avoid mistakes.
“We had three turnovers to start the second half, just like we had three turnovers to end the first half,” Larrañaga said. “All of those should have been baskets and maybe given us the lead. It’s all about skills, we’re limited in that.”
With multiple players out for the season the team has struggled to find depth in what’s left of its bench. Miami had five players who recorded 35 minutes or more and scored only two points from the bench compared to Virginia’s 20. Despite this, Miami continues to fight in every game.
“The energy on the team has been very positive,” Larrañaga said. “We don’t have many bodies, so those five starters have to play a ton of minutes. We tried to call timeouts to give them some rest.”
Sophomore guard Isaiah Wong had another double-digit performance, finishing the night with 10 points and seven rebounds. Guard Kameron McGusty found success from the field, finishing the night with 14 points and senior Elijah Olaniyi recorded 12 points and six rebounds.
While the team had three players finish the night with double-digit performances, it wasn’t enough to shock the Cavaliers at home, who were coming off a three-game losing streak.
“There’s a lot of skills you’ve got to bring to the game,” Larrañaga said. “The three basic offensive skills are passing, catching and shooting. We just don’t do those three things as a team at a high enough level.”
After a shocking loss to NC State at home, the Cavaliers were back to business as usual. Senior forward Sam Hauser led the way recording 18 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Trey Murphy III also joined him in scoring double-digits, finishing the night with 12 points and six rebounds.
Virginia entered the night as the second ranked team in the ACC, only behind Florida State. The team will continue to chase the championship title at Louisville on March 6. Meanwhile, the Canes look to wrap up their regular season in one last game at the Watsco Center where they will host Boston College on March 5.