Miami’s Comeback Falls Short at No. 10/9 North Carolina

Miami’s Comeback Falls Short at No. 10/9 North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team (15-14, 6-12 ACC) suffered a 75-71 loss to the No. 10/9 North Carolina Tar Heels (22-6, 14-3 ACC), Monday night at the Dean E. Smith Center.

The Hurricanes rallied from down 13 points late in the second half to trail by just two points, 72-70 in the final minute of the game, but fell just short of completing the comeback.

“That was a valiant effort on our part, but RJ Davis had the answer every time we made a run,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Our guys fought very hard. We fell behind late in the game but still made a tremendous effort to come back and made it a very exciting ending.”

Junior Bensley Joseph recorded a career-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting along with six rebounds and five assists in the contest.

Fourth-year junior Norchad Omier recorded his 12th 20-point game of the season with 22 points, while junior Matthew Cleveland tallied his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

North Carolina’s RJ Davis totaled 42 points in the game, highlighted by a 7-of-11 effort from 3-point range.

Miami knocked down three straight 3-pointers to start the game and take an 9-6 lead early in the contest. The Tar Heels responded with an 11-2 run to go up, 17-11, at the halfway point of the frame.

However, the Hurricanes’ 3-point shooting effort kept them in the game as Miami knocked down 61.5 precent of its shots from beyond the arc in the first half to pull to within two, 34-32. In the final seconds of the half, North Carolina’s Davis connected on his third 3-point of the game to put the Tar Heels ahead, 37-32, at halftime.

North Carolina strung together a 9-1 run early in the second half to take its first double-digit lead of the game, 50-38, at the 13:51 mark on the frame. The Hurricanes responded with a 10-2 stretch to cut the deficit to four with 10 minutes to play.

Omier and Joseph worked to keep the Hurricanes in the game, connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers to spark an 11-0 run for the Hurricanes. Freshman Kyshawn George hit a critical 3-pointer with 1:32 to play to cut North Carolina’s lead to two, 72-70.

The Tar Heels missed five of their eight free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds of the game, but a pair of offensive rebounds forced the Hurricanes to foul and North Carolina hung on to secure the 75-71 victory.

Miami returns to the Watsco Center on March 6 to host the Boston College Eagles in the final regular season home game of the season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air on ESPNU.