Hurricanes Take Down Virginia, 91-80
Jan. 12, 2005
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Diaz scored 26 points and Harris added 21 Wednesday night as the Hurricanestook command midway through the second half and handed the reeling Cavalierstheir third straight loss in conference play, 91-80.
“In my years at Wake Forest, this was always a tough place to go get awin,” first-year Miami coach and former Wake assistant Frank Haith said.
The Hurricanes (11-3, 2-1) made it look almost easy. Coming off a 67-66victory at home against North Carolina State, they did themselves one better intheir first season in the league and first visit to University Hall.
“Particularly in the second half, we played with a lot of passion and wemade a lot of plays,” Haith said. “I’m excited about where we’re at.
“We’re still a work in progress, but we are making a lot of improvement andI think we’ve shown that we can compete in this league.”
The opposite is true for Virginia and coach Pete Gillen. The Cavaliers (9-4,0-3) lost for the third time in four games, and all three have been lopsided.The fourth-ranked Demon Deacons won here 89-70 10 days earlier, and Virginialost 92-69 at No. 8 Georgia Tech on Saturday. Their only victory in the run wasan 80-79 double-overtime win over Western Kentucky.
Even worse, they visit No. 5 Duke on Sunday, Maryland after that and stillhave a home game against No. 3 North Carolina this month.
“We’re still a work in progress, but we are making a lot of improvement andI think we’ve shown that we can compete in this league.” Frank Haith
“They were tougher than us and more physical than us, and that was thedifference,” Gillen said. “We played soft. They drove the ball against manand zone. No resistance. Our defense really stunk in the second half.”
The offense had its moments, too.
Trailing 55-54 with 14:59 to play, Miami scored 18 of the next 27 points,helped by a stretch early in the run when Virginia turned the ball over on fiveconsecutive possessions without getting off a shot.
Diaz had eight points in the run, including a three-point play and then a3-pointer with 7:05 left, giving the Hurricanes a 72-64 lead.
Virginia closed within 72-67 on a 3-pointer by Devin Smith with 5:32 left,but Robert Hite scored inside and Gary Hamilton followed with a dunk after aCavaliers turnover and Virginia never got close again.
“They wanted it more than us,” said Cavaliers forward Jason Clark, whoaggravated a strained left Achilles’ in the first minute of play. “They setthe extra screens. They hit the boards harder.”
Smith, who missed the first three games in the drought with a sprained rightankle, led Virginia with 21 points, and Elton Brown had 20 and 10 rebounds.Brown managed just two points and three rebounds after halftime when theHurricanes sagged in and tried to end Brown’s big night.
Brown said there’s still time to get back on track.
“We’ve just got to go out there and play. We’re 0-3. We’ve got 14 gamesleft,” he said. “You’d rather lose now than at the end of the ACC play or themiddle of it. Right now is a learning experience for our young players.Sometimes disappointing things are a blessing in disguise.”
Hite added 15 points and William Frisby 12 for the Hurricanes. Frisby hadeight in the first 4 minutes of the second half, all putbacks.