Miami men’s basketball will play the penultimate game of its regular-season marathon Wednesday night against the Boston College Eagles at 9 p.m. at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
UM is just three days removed from a 71-70 loss at the hands of the Virginia Tech Hokies, the result of an inexplicable last-minute comeback in what was its last home game of the season.
“Losing is disappointing, it’s very painful,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said Saturday. “And, the way we lost today was even more painful because we certainly were in position. We were in control with under a minute to play.”
In Chestnut Hill, it will be crucial that the Hurricanes (20-9, 12-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) put the pain of last weekend’s loss behind them and focus on the task at hand. A win over the Eagles (11-17, 6-12 ACC) would clinch an all-important top-four seed at next week’s ACC Tournament and a bye to the quarterfinal round.
A loss, however, would leave Miami tied with Wake Forest in the ACC standings and desperately needing a win in its final regular season game at Syracuse this Saturday.
UM will look to its veteran leaders to ensure it avoids that fate, including sixth-year senior Kameron McGusty, who said his team’s approach going forward is about “Staying together; not getting too high, not getting too low. That’s been our approach all season.”
The Hurricanes’ level-headed approach is a testament to their experience; McGusty and fellow seniors Charlie Moore and Sam Waardenburg have played a big role in distilling this mentality throughout the team and exhibiting it with their play on the court.
The trio will need to come up big again on Wednesday. Moore is tasked with a high-octane point guard matchup against Boston College’s leading scorer and assist man, senior Makai Ashton-Langford. Waardenburg will battle with the ACC’s sixth-best rebounding frontcourt.
McGusty, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, will look to exploit Boston College’s defense, which lays claim to the ACC’s second-worst 3-point field goal percentage allowed and fourth-worst overall field goal percentage allowed.
“We’ve just got to keep on being positive, and rebound the way we have been throughout the season when we’ve had adversity,” Waardenburg said.
With the postseason quickly approaching, the Hurricanes will hope to turn the adversity from the Virginia Tech loss into momentum they can carry forward. A win at Conte Forum would be a step towards doing just that.