The Hurricanes (22-10) had multiple opportunities to seal the victory, but the team’s youth that coach Jim Larrañaga had stressed so heavily all season came back to bite them.
The Canes will play in the South region – the same bracket as No. 1 Virginia. This is the third-straight year UM has been invited to March Madness.
Despite keeping the game close the majority of the second half and trailing by just four points with 3:50 remaining, the Hurricanes failed to score the rest of the way. Meanwhile the Tar Heels, led by Pinson, went on a 13-0 run to close the contest.
No. 11-seed Syracuse will face off against No. 14-seed Wake Forest at 7 p.m. March 6. The winner of that game will play No. 6 North Carolina the following night at 9 p.m. Then the winner of that matchup advances to play Miami in the quarterfinals at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 8.
But the Canes kept their composure and closed the game out with a contested mid-range jumper by Lonnie Walker IV to tie it and then with the Lykes free-throw to win it with just three seconds left.
Fewer than two weeks after defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski left Miami’s football program for Alabama, the Hurricanes have already made the big move on the next man up.
The Hurricanes remained poised, however, and rode some solid defense and efficient free-throw shooting from seniors Erykah Davenport and Keyanna Harris to victory.
Senior Ja’Quan Newton had made only four 3-pointers all season, shooting 17 percent from beyond the arc. His fifth one might have solidified the Miami Hurricanes an NCAA Tournament spot.
Lonnie Walker IV, Chris Lykes save the day against Boston College: Updates and more from Miami basketball
BC was rolling, and UM had no answer for the dynamic backcourt of Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson. The game looked close to over, and Miami had already suffered a period of nearly five minutes without a field goal. Then Lykes flipped the switch.
Miami’s struggles against the 2-3 zone continued against the team that has mastered it over the years. And now, with just four games remaining, the Canes will need to make a late push to make the NCAA Tournament.
Federal government drops charges on AAU director in basketball bribery scandal, Miami looks to be clean
A spokesman for the U.S. District Court of Southern New York confirmed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked a federal judge to drop the charges last week, and the case was confirmed to be closed on Tuesday, according to an ESPN report.
Freshman guard Chris Lykes scored a career-high 19 points, but he was the only Hurricane to find his rhythm. Dewan Huell, Lonnie Walker IV and Anthony Lawrence II, three of the Canes best scorers, combined for just eight points on 2-of-16 shooting.