Coming off of their most impressive win of the season, a 60-57 win over Arizona State on Sunday in Anaheim, the Miami Hurricanes concluded a 10 day, 4 game road trip looking like a tired squad.
In front of a hostile, sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska UM fell 60-49 to the Cornhuskers.
When Wisconsin beat Virginia 48-38 earlier in the evening, surely viewers across the country though they had seen the least aesthetically pleasing game of the night. Well Miami and Nebraska may have outdone them.
Terran Pettaway, the Huskers leading scorer, opened the scoring with a 3 on the games opening possession. From there both teams bogged down in a sloppy defensive struggle.
4 and a half minutes in UM was 0-5 from floor with 2 turnovers. Rion Brown finally knocked down a medium range jumper to get the Hurricanes on the board.
With nothing seeming to work, the Hurricanes got an unexpected offensive burst from Erik Swoope. Swoope first converted an athletic alley hoop off a feed from Rion Brown. He followed it with a corner three ball, his first of the year.
It was fortunate for UM to a few unexpected buckets, as nothing else seemed to fall.
Contested threes, open threes, drives, posts, all seemed to rattle out.
Luckily for Miami, Nebraska wasn't much better. In an anemic first half that scorched the eyes, the Huskers led 22-13 at the intermission. Ray Gallegos had two threes in transition, to lead the Huskers.
The 13 points represented the fewest UM has scored in a half since joining the ACC.
Miami had more first half turnovers 7, then buckets 6.
The second half was equally ugly.
The Canes made a concerted effort to take the ball to the basket, but it barely helped break the seal on the hoop. Additionally their D was not particularly sharp. And they still could not knock down trifectas.
With the crowd screaming "Air ball, Air ball, Air ball," Davon Reed launched exactly that. It led to a layup on the other end and a 34-20 lead. Jim Larranaga needed a time out.
It was that type of night. In Reed's defense, the boisterous crowd seemed to be chanting "Air Ball" at each and every 'Cane who touched the ball on the floor. And they weren't that far off.
Miami seemed to finally wake up after the TO. Brown and Reed combined for 3 straight threes and suddenly cut the lead to 5 at 36-31.
Amazingly, inexplicably, UM was in it. But that's as close as it would get.
Walter Pitchford would answer with a huge three though, and the Canes were out of comebacks.
Brown did most of the damage on the night for Canes with 25 points, including 23 in the second half. The Hurricanes would benefit greatly if RB found his stroke tonight.
With UM's loss and UNC's win the Challenge would end tied at 6 wins a piece per conference.
Up next for the Hurricanes, they open their ACC slate at the BUC Vs Virginia Tech on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 12:30 p.m.