MBB Falls, 63-57, at Georgia Tech
By Alex Schwartz
ATLANTA – The University of Miami men’s basketball team dropped a 63-57 decision Saturday on the road against Georgia Tech.
Junior guard Chris Lykes scored a team-high 14 points for the Hurricanes, who stormed back from a 20-point second-half deficit to take the lead, but were unable to hang on for the victory at McCamish Pavilion.
“I thought our effort in the first half was lacking and then, in the second half, we finally started to dig down deep and fight our way back,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “When you are playing hard defense and rebounding, then your offense normally starts to click and that is what happened.”
The Yellow Jackets took control of the game early with a 14-2 run, but Miami (14-14, 6-12 ACC) soon countered with six straight points to trim its deficit to five, 25-20, with 5:03 on the clock.
Georgia Tech (15-14, 9-9 ACC) responded with 13 straight points in under three minutes to build a 38-20 edge with 1:56 to go and eventually took a 40-24 advantage into the locker room.
Miami tied its season low for points in a half, failed to make a 3-pointer in a frame for just the second time in 2019-20, tied for its second-most turnovers in a half (11) and failed to attempt multiple free throws in a session for the fourth time.
Georgia Tech extended its edge to a game-high 20 with 15:53 remaining, but Miami would not fold. The Hurricanes went on a 24-2 run, capped with a go-ahead 3-pointer by Lykes, in 7:56 of action to take a 53-51 edge with 7:37 to play.
The Yellow Jackets scored four straight points to regain the lead and then Miami did the same to take a 57-55 advantage with 4:08 to go. The Hurricanes, however, missed their final seven shots and did not score the rest of the way, as Georgia Tech went on to earn the victory, its sixth straight at home, with an 8-0 surge in the final 3:41.
The only Hurricane to join Lykes, who grabbed a season- and ACC-best five rebounds, in double figures was redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty, who tallied 11 in the setback.
Junior guard Jose Alvardo led all scorers with 16 points for the Yellow Jackets and he added seven steals, the most by any Miami opponent in 2019-20, and sophomore guard Michael Devoe scored 14 points in the win. Senior forward James Banks III notched 13 points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds, tied for the second-most the Hurricanes have allowed to a single player this year.
The Hurricanes held Georgia Tech to 29.6 percent shooting (8-of-27) in the second half and set a season high with 11 steals overall, but finished with a 48-33 deficit in rebounding, including an 18-12 margin on the offensive end.
Miami now heads home to the Watsco Center for its final two games of the regular season, the first of which is Wednesday at 9 p.m. against Virginia, live on ACC Network.
The 2019-20 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.
MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes moved to 14-10 all-time against Georgia Tech, including 7-6 on the road and 7-4 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 659-445 in 36 years as a head coach, including 189-111 in nine seasons and exactly 300 games at Miami.
– For the fourth time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Lykes, redshirt junior center Rodney Miller, Jr., redshirt senior forward Keith Stone, senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic and freshman guard Isaiah Wong.
– The Hurricanes moved to 11-6 this season when they have nine healthy scholarship players, including 7-3 when Stone is a part of that group.
– Miami is now 14-0 when leading or tied at halftime and 0-14 when trailing through 20 minutes this season.
– The Hurricanes’ prior top mark in steals this season was 10, set Feb. 5 against NC State.
– Georgia Tech totaled 12 steals in the game, good for the second-most by a Miami foe in 2019-20, trailing only the 15 recorded by ninth-ranked Florida State in a Jan. 18 overtime affair.
– Saturday marked just the fourth time this season, including the second in ACC play, two only Hurricanes scored in double figures.
– The other times this season Miami scored just 24 points in a half were at Duke on Jan. 21 and at Pittsburgh on Feb. 2, both also before the break.
– The lone other occasion this year in which the Hurricanes did not make a 3-pointer in a half was versus then-second-ranked Duke on Jan. 4.
– The two other times in 2019-20 Miami committed 11-plus turnovers in a half, both also before the intermission, came Jan. 18 against then-ninth-ranked Florida State (12) and Dec. 21 versus Coppin State (11).
– Miami’s other three times without multiple free-throw attempts in a half came Nov. 5 against fifth-ranked Louisville (zero in first), Nov. 24 in Charleston, S.C., against UConn (zero in second) and Dec. 31 at Clemson (one in first).
– Saturday marked the first time all season the Hurricanes have made the exact same number of 3-pointers (two) as their opponent,
– Lykes connected on Miami’s first 3-pointer of the night with 9:40 remaining in the game.
– Before Alvarado recorded seven Saturday, the prior high in steals for a Miami opponent in 2019-20 was five by Florida State’s Anthony Polite on Jan. 18.
– Lykes registered his 62nd double-digit scoring performance.
– McGusty posted his 47th double-figure point total.
– Miller, who surpassed 100 made field goals in his career, posted a career-high four steals.
– Stone, who played in his 100th game, reached 200 made field goals as a collegian.
– Vasiljevic, who made his 125th appearance at Miami, passed Anthony Lawrence II for third place on Miami’s ACC-only career minutes played list, now with 1,858.
– After scoring double-digit points in each of his first nine starts as a Hurricane, Wong finished with six against the Yellow Jackets.