The son of a hall-of-fame shortstop, a transfer from rival Florida via Cameroon, another transfer from the great Midwest, a couple of big men from the triangle, the son of a CBA legend, a freakish athlete from California, and an New York City kid as tough as his NYC Coach.
Put them all together and you have an experienced, hard-nosed, and talented group. You also have your 2013 ACC regular season and ACC Tournament Champions, and a team poised to make noise in the field of 68. Miami defeated UNC today 87-77, in a game 'Canes fans hope is a preamble of special things to come.
Just a minute in, Durand Scott took a wicked elbow to the back (no call). With Scott out of the line-up the game started out fast, with UNC firing away from deep and Miami focusing on getting the ball down low. Julian Gamble and Kenny Kadji scored from in close but were answered with bombs from Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige as UNC took an early 18-12 lead.
Miami responded with a 7-2 run, as Scott returned to the game and got two quick buckets. Shane Larkin added to the run with back-to-back assists to Trey McKinney Jones, first for a triple, then for a layup.
But PJ Hairston went absolutely Reggie Miller to keep UNC step for step with Miami. The third of three consecutive trifectas was an absolute impossible shot with Erik Swoope all over him to give the Heels a 35-34 lead. But Sugar Shane responded with a pair of jumpers of his own and a tremendous steal as the Hurricanes built the lead back to 4. The first half was played with a lot of passion by both teams and was a brilliant offensive display on both ends.
Larkin closed out a near perfect individual half (15 points 5 assists 0 turnovers) with a pull up jumper to give Miami a 44-41 lead at the break. Hairston led the way for UNC with 15 of his own.
With everyone's breathe caught, the level of play in the second half of this game did not drop an ounce.
Reggie Bullock, TMJ (his fourth), and Hairston nailed threes in the opening moments. Hairston's 6th triple of the day sliced the lead to 51-50. It was truly a game of anything you can do, I can do better.
Both teams were absolutely spectacular. UNC hit 12 of their first 21 threes, Miami 8 of their first 15.
At the ten minute mark James Michael McAdoo second consecutive drive gave the Tar Heels a 5 point lead, but Rion Brown answered with a corner triple, as Carolina went zone, to cut it to 63-61. The game finally slowed down a bit, as McKinney Jones fifth three gave UM the lead back.
Brown drew a huge charge on defense and Larkin found Gamble for a two handed flush to extend to a 72-67 lead. Dexter Strickland hit two FTs to cut it to three, before Brown hit two of his own.
With the lead again just three, Larkin turned the corner and got all the way to the bucket to extend to 5. A great defensive stop was followed by TMJ's 6th three of the day and the lead was 79-71 with just over a minute to go.
That was all she wrote. Miami had done it. In a dream season, another banner was added. Another net was cut down!!!
But there is more to come!!!!
Player Of The Game: Has to be Shane Larkin (28 points 5 rebounds 7 assists). Julian Gamble (11 points 10 rebounds) and Trey McKinney Jones (20 huge points, 6-9 from deep) would have taken this award any other day.
The Good: Larkin's play was so good, he trended on twitter. Scott and Reggie Johnson embraced in a tear jerking moment after the win. Good stuff!!
The Bad: None. Great game by both teams.
The Ugly: Bigger things lie ahead, but it is a shame this week had to end.
Next Game: Now the 'Canes can sit back and relax and watch the Selection Show to see where they head next.
|James Michael McAdoo||6-12||0-0||0-0||2||5||0||3||12|
|Trey McKinney Jones||7-11||6-9||0-0||0||4||2||0||20|
- Technical Fouls:
- Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC