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Miami tops UVa in nip-and-tuck affair
The Hurricanes win their 14th straight, scoring the go-ahead basket with 5.7 seconds left.
Miami's Kenny Kadji is unable to block Virginia's Justin Anderson (23).
Virginia's Darion Atkins (32) blocks Miami's Reggie Johnson (42) in the first half Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Looking for the first victory in its men’s basketball history against a No. 1 or No. 2-ranked opponent, Virginia came up one stop short Tuesday night.
Senior Reggie Johnson scored the go-ahead basket with 5.7 seconds remaining as second-ranked Miami held off the Cavaliers 54-50 at Bank United Center.
“It stings because we felt we had a chance to win or take the game into overtime,” UVa coach Tony Bennett said.
Virginia, an eight-point underdog, had tied the score 50-50 on a 3-pointer by freshman Evan Nolte with 14.3 seconds left.
The Cavaliers (18-8, 8-5) had the lead only one time in the second half, 29-28, but the Hurricanes (22-3, 13-0) responded with an 8-0 run and matched their biggest lead of the night, 36-29.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by UVa’s Paul Jesperson and Justin Anderson quickly cut the deficit to 40-39.
Joe Harris’ lone 3-pointer of the night pulled the Cavaliers into a 46-46 tie with 57 seconds left.
Harris later missed the second half of a two shot free-throw opportunity with 41.5 seconds left, and a pair of Shane Larkin free throws made it a three-point game before Nolte’s tying 3-pointer.
Harris, who had scored 20 points or more in four straight games, finished with a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds. No other UVa player hit double figures.
“Joe was solid,” Bennett said. “He didn’t light it up but they were all over him. It was going to be a tough game. Buckets weren’t going to be easy to come by, except the last one unfortunately.”
Larkin had 11 points and six assists to lead the Hurricanes, who sealed the victory when Durand Scott stepped in front of Jesperson’s inbounds pass after the Johnson bucket that made it 52-50.
UVa fouled and Scott hit both free throws.
On the go-ahead basket, Bennett said UVa forward Akil Mitchell saw Larkin driving toward the basket and took a step toward Kenny Kadji on the perimeter, thinking Larkin might pass the ball outside.
“We left the rim unprotected,” Bennett said, “and [Johnson] threw it right at the rim. [Mitchell] hates that. If they earn it and make a tough shot, OK. To give up an easy one stings without a doubt.”
Bennett had been disgusted with his team’s defensive play Saturday in a 93-81 loss at North Carolina, where the Cavaliers gave up 53 points in the second half.
Against a Miami team that is unbeaten at home this season and had beaten both North Carolina and Duke by more than 20 points at Bank United Center, UVa trailed 24-22 at the half.
The Cavaliers were able to stay in the game despite shooting 35 percent in the first half, as opposed to Miami’s 50 percent accuracy. The Cavaliers finished at 39 percent for the game, compared with Miami’s 47 percent.
It was the 14th straight victory for Miami, which hasn’t lost since Christmas Day, when it was beaten by Indiana State 57-55 in Hawaii. Virginia, losing consecutive games for the first time this season, returns home Sunday to face Georgia Tech.
Mitchell 3-10 0-0 6, Evans 1-5 3-4 5, Jesperson 3-6 0-0 8, Harris 7-16 1-2 16, Anderson 3-8 0-0 7, Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Nolte 2-5 1-2 6, Atkins 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-52 5-8 50.
Kadji 3-8 1-3 7, Gamble 4-7 0-2 8, Larkin 4-7 3-4 11, Scott 2-6 2-2 6, McKinney Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Brown 3-7 3-3 10, Jekiri 1-2 0-0 2, Johnson 4-7 0-2 8. Totals 22-47 9-16 54.
Halftime—Miami 24-22. 3-Point Goals—Virginia 5-15 (Jesperson 2-4, Anderson 1-2, Nolte 1-4, Harris 1-5), Miami 1-7 (Brown 1-2, Larkin 0-1, Kadji 0-1, Scott 0-1, McKinney Jones 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia 32 (Mitchell 8), Miami 32 (Gamble, Johnson 7). Assists—Virginia 12 (Evans 7), Miami 11 (Larkin 6). Total Fouls—Virginia 17, Miami 10. A—7,972.
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