Comeback 'Canes Beat Cavaliers, 69-62
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Miami Postgame Press Conference | Virginia Postgame Press Conference
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Malcolm Grant scored 16 points as Miami rallied from 10 down in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and beat Virginia 69-62 in Thursday’s first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Garrius Adams added 10 points for the ninth-seeded Hurricanes (19-13), who spent most of the second half struggling to make a shot before their frantic comeback forced the extra period. Once there, Grant hit three free throws while Adams had a crucial 3-pointer and Reggie Johnson added a pair of baskets to put Miami in control.
The Hurricanes advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals to play sixth-ranked and top-seeded North Carolina as they try to repeat last year’s surprising semifinal run as a No. 12 seed.
Mustapha Farrakhan had 14 points to lead the eighth-seeded Cavaliers (16-15), whose 20-2 run gave them a 50-39 lead with 2:12 left.
But Miami staged a rally as improbable as it was wild, particularly considering how poorly the Hurricanes had shot the ball through the second half.
Trailing 53-43 with 42.5 seconds left, Durand Scott hit a 3-pointer. Then Sammy Zeglinski missed a pair of free throws and Miami came back with another 3, this time from Grant to cut the deficit to 53-49 with 23.1 seconds left.
The Cavaliers turned it over in the backcourt and Julian Gamble (11 points) dunked home a basket on the inbound play to cut it to 53-51. Then Scott stole Jontel Evans’ inbound pass under the basket and scored on a layup while being fouled to tie it with 13.9 seconds left.
He missed the free throw, but Zeglinski couldn’t control the rebound as it bounced off his foot and out of bounds with 11.6 seconds left.
Grant lost the ball when it slipped out of his hands on a shot attempt, giving it back to Virginia with 1.3 seconds left. But again, the Hurricanes stole the inbound when Gamble jumped in front of Will Sherrill’s pass near midcourt before missing a desperate heave at the horn.
Once in the overtime, the Hurricanes played confidently to steal a win that looked certain for the Cavaliers just moments earlier.
Miami missed 17 of its first 19 shots in the second half and had just 12 points through the first 19 minutes before scoring the final 10 points in regulation. The Hurricanes then hit all five of their shots in the overtime, including Adams’ 3 that made it 61-57 with 1:56 left. Johnson’s two baskets pushed that margin to eight while the Cavaliers could do little but watch this one painfully slip away.
The Hurricanes are now 6-6 in ACC Tournament play and have advanced past the first round of competition in five of the last six seasons. Miami has knocked off a higher-seeded opponent four times and evens its ACC Tourney record versus Virginia to 1-1. The Cavaliers knocked off the Hurricanes, 66-65, in Miami’s first ACC Tournament appearance in 2004-05.
With a game-high seven assists versus the Cavaliers — tying a UM high in the ACC Tournament, Grant surpassed 100 assists for the second-straight season and now has 104. Scott — who now has 101 assists — notched his 100th assist in the regular-season finale at Georgia Tech, becoming the first Hurricane since John Salmons in 2001-02 to turn in back-to-back 100-assist seasons. (Lance Hurdle previously dished out seven assists for Miami versus Virginia Tech in ACC Tournament play on March 12, 2009.)
Grant — who entered the tournament leading the conference in three-point field goal percentage, three-pointers per game and free throw percentage — has hit a three in 29 of 32 games this season, with three-plus threes 18 times — including in 13 of the last 19 games.
Adrian Thomas finished under his average with just one three-pointer today, but that was enough to extend his three-point streak to 17-straight games for the second-longest active streak in the ACC behind Grant. His 82 three-pointers this season are sixth-most in a single season by a Hurricane, while his 192 career threes rank fifth. Thomas has hit three-plus threes 15 times this season and 32 times over his six-year career.
True freshman Rion Brown — who was instrumental in Miami’s comeback win over Virginia during the regular season — finished 3-of-4 from long range today, hitting his first three three-pointers. It marks the third time this season he has knocked down three-or-more treys and the second time over the last three games. Brown went a career-high 6-of-7 from long range in the 80-66 win over Maryland on March 2.