Miami 79- BC 78
What’s worse than another road loss? Blowing a 14-point lead in the final five minutes for another road loss. The Eagles had a great chance to grab their second ACC road win and complete the sweep of Miami this afternoon in Coral Gables, but could not hold on in the final minutes and instead notched their thirteenth loss.
The first half of this one was unlike virtually every other first half the Eagles have had on the road this season. First, they did not fall victim to a slow start and create deep hole to dig out of but came out gunning and never trailed by more than 6. Second, they did not allow opposing shooters to get hot from deep and pile on three-pointers; instead, they held Miami to two-of-seven behind the arc with mostly zone defense. Finally, BC has often struggled when Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman are the only scoring threats. Today, the Eagles’ supporting cast came up big as Nik Popovic led all scorers for much of the half and contributed 12 points. Bowman and Robinson found him inside for open dunks and layups, and he added some baseline jumpers as his confidence grew. Miami completely owned the offensive boards and had fifteen second chance points which kept them in the game, but BC ended the first half with a 41-39 lead.
The Eagles began the second half looking to build on their lead and put the game out of reach for the Hurricanes. The Eagles had much more success on the defensive boards in the second half, cutting Miami’s offensive rebounding total in half and holding them to five second chance points. The Eagles were not able to capitalize on Miami’s early foul trouble with their 56% free throw shooting, but Jerome Robinson was impossible to stop and racked up 30 points. They were almost successful in putting the game out of reach, stretching the lead to as much as 14 with 5:51 to play.
The ‘Canes went on one last, frantic run in the final five minutes. They employed a full court press that resulted in a few turnovers, drew fouls, and hit some timely threes. Still, it looked like the Eagles would hold on as the lead hovered around 8 with just 1:28 to play. Then everything fell apart. Ky Bowman attempted to blow past Chris Lykes in the full court press and picked up his fifth foul. Jim Christian elected not to sub in an ice cold Vin Baker Jr, and instead inserted Luka Kraljevic who had played seven minutes in the first half. This left Robinson as the primary ball handler, making the trap much easier for Miami as several BC players were unwilling to bring the ball up the court. With 29 seconds and a 1-point lead, BC got the ball over the half court, but Kraljevic was quickly fouled before the Eagles could set up their offense and he hit just one of two at the line. This gave Miami the ball back with 18 seconds and a chance for the final shot. Lonnie Walker IV, who had been fairly quiet with only two second half points, found the ball in his hands with 2 seconds on the clock and came up with the huge, game-winning three. It was the only time Miami had led in the second half. BC was unable to get off a shot on the final inbounds play and ended the afternoon with a stunning 79-78 loss.
This loss puts the Eagles at 16-13 on the season, with six ACC wins. They will head home and take on Syracuse in Conte Forum at 9:00 on Wednesday night. They wrap up the regular season one week from today on the road against #25 Florida State.