Hurricanes visit Georgia Tech in second straight road contest

Freshman guard Bensley Joseph brings the ball downcourt during the first half of Miami’s game versus Florida State in the Watsco Center on Jan. 22, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The Miami Hurricanes remain on the road, this time heading south from Blacksburg, Virginia, towards Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at noon on Saturday.

Miami (15-5, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) enters another conference matchup after a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from half-court by guard Charlie Moore, which lifted the Canes over the Virginia Tech Hokies on Wednesday night 78-75.

“Virginia Tech shot the ball extremely well, being at home and playing with a lot of confidence in the second half. It really took a determined effort by our players to match them every step of the way,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said.

With this win, Miami vaulted back into sole possession of first place atop the ACC, with Duke (6-2) and Notre Dame (6-2) close behind.

Coming into Saturday, the Canes will take on Georgia Tech that has not had as much success thus far this season, sitting at only 9-10 and 2-6 in ACC play, good enough for second to last in the ACC standings.

Facing any ACC opponent is a tough task, however, as Miami knows all too well. The Hurricanes have lost twice to Florida State by exactly one point while they have also beaten Syracuse by the same number and taken down Duke by two points. Miami is just the third ACC team in the last 16 years to play three straight games decided by just four total points.

“There is always a concern emotionally after a game like that, but Georgia Tech is a very good basketball team, especially at home,” Larrañaga said. “They just beat Florida State, who just beat us. So, we know we have our hands full and our players understand that you’ve got to take the season one game at a time.”

Perhaps the difference in close games for Miami has been its ability to create turnovers. Through its ACC schedule thus far, Miami has forced 134 turnovers while only giving away 76, a key difference that could be crucial for the Canes in this Saturday matchup, as they have yet to outrebound an ACC opponent.

“When you have experienced guys who have been through the wars over a period of time, they realize that the game is not over until it’s over.” Larrañaga said. “Every possession is important — every shot, every turnover. All those things create the opportunity to win at the end, and our guys have been very poised down the stretch.”

The two teams are meeting for this first time since March 11, 2021, in which Miami lost to Georgia Tech 70-66 in the ACC Tournament.

After five Canes scored double-digits against Virginia Tech, UM will look for similar production to pick up its 16th total win and eighth in ACC play on Saturday.

Following the matchup, the Canes will return to Coral Gables to take on Notre Dame on Wednesday at 7 p.m.