It was a heartbreaking senior game for the Miami Hurricanes (19-9, 11-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), losing to Virginia Tech (18-11, 10-8 ACC) 71-70 on Saturday at the Watsco Center.
Turnovers down the stretch hurt the Canes, cutting a lead of 6 points to what ended up resulting in a loss. Virginia Tech sophomore guard Darius Maddox was able to make a very difficult 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to give the Hokies the win.
“They made the plays,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Very much like how we made the plays at their place to win by three points.”
Sixth-year senior guard Kameron McGusty led the Canes in scoring with 15 points on 50% shooting from the field. Sixth-year senior guard Charlie Moore was dynamic on offense as well, finishing with 12 points and nine assists. Redshirt senior forward Keve Aluma led the Hokies in scoring and rebounding with 18 points and 10 boards.
The game started out slow offensively for both teams, with the score being 7-4 in favor of Miami after the game’s first five minutes.
The scoring began to pick up for both sides, with Miami and Virginia Tech going back and forth with physical shots from the paint and midrange. With 11 minutes left in the first half, the Hurricanes held a one-point lead.
Miami, as time went on, succumbed to the sluggish offense they had at the beginning of the game, scoring zero points over a four-minute stretch, as a click in Virginia Tech’s offense enabled the Hokies to open up a 24-15 lead with 4:41 to play in the first half.
The Hurricanes answered with a scoring run of their own and led at halftime, 35-33, after third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong drained a buzzer-beating jump shot to end the first half. Although Miami had the lead, Virginia Tech had shot 61% from the field, compared to Miami, who shot 48% in the game’s opening period.
The second half began with both teams trading baskets. By the 15-minute mark, this resulted in a 43-39 lead for the Hurricanes.
Four steals to start off the second half led to four additional points for the Canes, allowing them to maintain a lead of 49-46 with 11 minutes to play in the game.
A great scoring run followed for Miami, connecting on five straight field goals. This pushed UM’s lead to seven with eight minutes remaining in the closing half.
Virginia Tech, however, still put up a fight. They moved the ball around with pace and were able to find open shots to close Miami’s lead to only two points with 5:30 left in the game.
Ultimately, two turnovers by the Canes on inbounds passes led to five Virginia Tech points, the second of which was the 3-pointer Maddox nailed that gave the Hokies the win.
Miami will look to get back to their winning ways against Boston College this Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Silvio O. Conte Forum.