Tonye Jekiri opened the scoring after snagging an errant pass from Manu Lecomte and hit a smooth jumper. Angel Rodriguez hit an acrobatic layup to extend the early lead to 4-0. Miami's quick start was strangled with a 7-0 Virginia run, until Sheldon McClellan drilled a 3 to tie the game at 7-7.
Early on Miami appeared to match Virginia's defensive intensity which is no small feat. The Cavaliers have one of the best defensive units in the nation. But Virginia started to feel it from outside and Miami suffered another bout of offensive frostbite. Before you knew it, Virginia had built a 10 point lead with just over 8 minutes left in the first half.
One of the bright spots of a dismal first half included a nice lay-up by McClellan and a pretty awesome tip dunk by Joe Thomas, and a 3 by Davon Reed. Other than a few scattered plays, the 38-20 Virginia halftime lead was a waking nightmare.
Virginia has been demolishing good teams and right now, it's hard to label the struggling 'Canes as a good team. But the 'Canes would fight back.
Rodriguez started off the 2nd frame with a layup. Deandre Burnett then drilled a 3. After a bucket by Virginia, Omar Sherman nailed a three and suddenly the 'Canes were only down 11. After a wild sequence with Miami rampaging the offensive glass, Burnett nailed another 3 from the top of the key to cut the once insurmountable Virginia lead to 8, 41-33.
Despite a needed Virginia timeout, Miami wasn't finished running. A nice outlet pass to McClellan who had leaked out led to an easy lay-up. Rodriquez converted a nice lay-up and the 'Canes had rallied to within 5, 42-37 with 14 minutes to play.
Virginia managed to stop the bleeding and extended their lead back to ten with some sharpshooting. In an almost mind-boggling twist of fate, the 'Canes, despite aggressively taking the ball to the hoop had not shot one free throw in the first 30 minutes of play.
Sherman drained another 3 to trim the lead back to 7 and followed it up with another bomb to cut the Virginia lead to 4 with 9:18 to play. After another great defensive possession, Miami finally had an opportunity for their first free throw, with 9:03 left in the game. Suddenly, the 'Canes had closed the lead to 2, before Marial Shayok nailed a 3 to stretch it back to a 5-point cushion for the Cavaliers, 50-45.
Rodriguez hit a runner after another obvious foul on a driving miss by Burnett was ignored by one of the worst refereeing crews to have ever refereed a game. These guys were terrible.
Virginia took a 54-48 lead after Mike Tobey out-rebounded 4 'Canes on the offensive glass and scored on the put-back. After seemingly giving the game away at the line, Rodriguez ripped a steal and converted the layup and the free throw and Malcolm Brogdon was disqualified with his 5th foul and the 'Canes were down 4. Rodriguez hit his first 3 to close the gap to 1. But Perrantes, not known for his offensive output, drilled another 3, giving him 15 points matching his career high. Perrantes hit 2 free throws after the 'Canes couldn't rebound consecutive misses of 1-and-1s, which could have sealed the 'Canes fate until Evan Nolte missed 2 free throws to give the 'Canes one final chance down 63-60.
Rodriguez raced down the court and was fouled in the act of shooting a 3, leading to a chance for the 'Canes junior PG to potentially force overtime with just .9 seconds left on the clock.
Rodriguez nailed the first two before Coach Tony Bennett called a time out to try and ice Rodriguez.
But Rodriguez drained it sending the game into overtime and giving the 'Canes late life.
After seeking out a defibrillator, I made it back to my seat to see Jekiri open the overtime with an easy bucket, followed by a Rodriguez layup. After Virginia hit 1 of 2 from the line, the 'Canes committed two completely unforced turnovers but still clung to a 67-64 lead with 2:17 to go.
With the 'Canes up 69-65, Justin Anderson was hacked on a 3-attempt by McClellan, sending him to the line for 3 nerve-racking shots. The star guard nailed all of them and the 'Canes led 69-68 with just 20.6 seconds to go.
Rodriguez, drained 2 more FTs to give the 'Canes a 71-68 edge with just 19.9 left. It's amazing how just under 20 seconds can seem like an eternity. Those 19.9 ticks seemed like "The Never Ending Story."
Anderson hit a clutch 3 to force double OT in this incredibly amazing game.
McClellan hit a 3 to open scoring in double OT, but then Virginia went on a 6-0 run after some ill-advised shots by the 'Canes and flawless execution by the Cavaliers.
With just 2:45 left in the second OT, Virginia clung to a 3-point lead. Coach Larranaga called a time-out to settle his team down just as much as to give them a breather. McClellan missed a 3 and Virginia extended the lead to 79-75. Jekiri hit a shot in the lane to close it to 3, but the Cavaliers would not be denied, extending the lead to 81-76.
Rodriguez did something that you almost never see - his lay-up attempt wedged between the rim and the backboard, and the possession arrow sealed the victory for the Cavaliers.
Great game to watch - it felt like some sloppy play in the first overtime eliminated a real solid chance for the 'Canes to steal a victory against one of the best teams in the country. Hopefully, this effort is something the team can build on after a rough stretch over the past few weeks.
|Anthony Gill, F||1-6||0-0||4-8||2||4||6||2||0||0||3||1||6|
|Mike Tobey, F||6-9||0-0||2-2||2||4||6||0||0||1||0||2||14|
|Justin Anderson, G||4-9||2-5||6-9||0||2||2||3||0||0||0||2||16|
|Malcolm Brogdon, G||3-8||1-3||1-1||0||2||2||1||0||1||2||5||8|
|London Perrantes, G||5-11||5-9||10-11||0||1||1||8||1||1||3||3||25|
|Darion Atkins, F||3-8||0-0||2-3||5||7||12||1||0||1||1||4||8|
|Evan Nolte, F||1-1||0-0||0-2||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||4||2|
|Devon Hall, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Marial Shayok, G||3-6||2-4||1-2||0||5||5||3||2||2||0||1||9|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes|
|Tonye Jekiri, C||4-8||0-0||0-1||4||8||12||3||2||0||1||5||8|
|Joe Thomas, F||1-1||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||3||2|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||7-22||1-7||10-12||2||2||4||7||1||0||1||5||25|
|Sheldon McClellan, G||4-10||2-6||6-6||2||6||8||0||3||0||5||3||16|
|Manu Lecomte, G||0-3||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||0|
|Omar Sherman, F||5-10||3-7||0-2||1||5||6||1||0||0||0||4||13|
|Deandre Burnett, G||5-8||2-4||0-1||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||2||12|
|Davon Reed, G||1-1||1-1||1-2||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||1||4|
|Ja'Quan Newton, G||0-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||1||1||0|
|James Palmer, G||0-2||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None