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Miami Basketball Can't See the Forest Through the Trees; Lose 72-70

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At a crossroads in the season, the 'Canes headed to North Carolina to take on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. In order to move further away from the NCAA Tournament bubble, Miami Basketball was slated with the task of negotiating fire, brimstone, and Ash to secure an important conference win.

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Davon Reed put Miami up early, but it was Wake Forest that came out slugging, threatening to Chase Miami out of the arena. The 'Canes rallied after being down 17-5 and trimmed the deficit to 17-13 in the blink of an eye even though Miami was as cold as ice from beyond the arc.

Angel Rodriguez continued to struggle shooting the ball, but his passing skills were on point for a couple of easy buckets. Sheldon McClellan looked more aggressive in taking the ball to the hoop and it paid some early dividends.

But just as Miami started to surge Wake turned the tables and extended their lead. Give credit to Wake, they came to play and showed a ton of of energy on both sides of the ball. Just when Wake was threatening to blow it open again, Miami got hot from 3. First it was Reed and then Ja'Quan Newton hitting his second triple of the year to close it to a 26-20 Wake Forest lead.

But Wake would not be denied. Their frenzied pace which hasn't worked out much in conference play seemed to be too much for Miami. The 'Canes were putting out a strong effort, but the results were far less than stellar through the vast chasm of the first half.

Despite 11 3's by Wake in the first half (they weren't just hot, they were incendiary), Miami trailed by just 9 going into the locker room. Before you lambaste the 'Canes, take into consideration that Wake shot 61.1% from beyond the arc. It could have been worse. Much worse.

The Canes came out in the 2nd half and still had difficulty cutting into the Wake Forest lead. When Wake went inside - they scored and Coach Larranaga looked perturbed to say the least.

Just as things seemed like they were going to go completely sideways, Rodriguez drilled a 3 to cut the Wake lead to 54-45.The teams battled back and forth with the Wake lead from anywhere between 8-11 points before a Sherman 3 and a couple of Rodriguez FTs cut the deficit to 6 at 60-54.

Rodriguez seemed to reinvent himself on a drive with a hoop and a harm (missed the FT), but then was fouled on another slash to the rim to cut the Wake lead to 60-58. After struggling over the past several games, Rodriguez upped his game in the 2nd half.

Out of nowhere, James Palmer went coast-to-coast to tie the game at 60! Then, Palmer hit an explosive drive to give the 'Canes their first lead since early in the game at 62-61!

Tonye Jekiri hit a shot in the lane to give the 'Canes a 66-63 lead with 4 minutes to play. After a Rodriguez missed 3, Jekiri fouled out going for a rebound. With just under 4 minutes to go, the 'Canes were down their best rebounder and interior defender. Could they hold on for the important win?

Wake was determined to fight back and hit a huge 3 and followed it up with an and-1 to turn a deficit into a 2-pt lead. Coach Larranaga called a time-out to settle down his squad and McClellan responded with a big time put back off his runner miss to tie it.

With just under 1 minute left, Wake clung to a 2-pt lead and possession of the ball. Could Miami win on the road to keep their tournament hope alive?

Miami had a chance to tie it in the waning seconds but Rodriguez' layup attempt rolled off the rim. Wake wins!

Takeaways:

- Jekiri is the only rebounder on the team

- The reliance on 3-point shooting (7-26) is killing this team

- Kamari Murphy can't be eligible soon enough

- Angel Rodriguez had his best game in a while - kudos to his effort

Miami (FL) Hurricanes
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Tonye Jekiri, C 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 1 0 0 5 6
Angel Rodriguez, G 3-8 1-4 8-10 1 2 3 2 0 0 3 4 15
Sheldon McClellan, G 4-9 1-4 2-4 2 6 8 5 0 0 1 1 11
Davon Reed, G 6-13 2-8 3-4 0 4 4 0 5 0 0 3 17
Ja'Quan Newton, G 2-4 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 5
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Omar Sherman, F 2-5 1-4 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 5
Ivan Cruz Uceda, F 1-4 0-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 2
Joe Thomas, F 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
James Palmer, G 2-4 0-1 2-2 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 1 6
Manu Lecomte, G 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 2 0 2 1 3
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
24-53 7-26 15-20 6 23 29 14 8 0 8 19 70
45.3% 26.9% 75.0%
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Aaron Rountree III, F 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 3 0 0 0 1 2
Devin Thomas, F 5-10 0-0 3-4 1 4 5 1 1 0 6 3 13
Konstantinos Mitoglou, F 6-11 6-7 3-5 4 4 8 0 1 0 1 3 21
Mitchell Wilbekin, G 3-8 2-6 1-2 0 2 2 3 1 0 1 0 9
Codi Miller-McIntyre, G 3-9 1-3 1-2 0 6 6 7 1 0 1 1 8
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Andre Washington, C 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Cornelius Hudson, F 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 3
Darius Leonard, F 6-9 2-4 0-2 5 2 7 0 0 0 1 2 14
Greg McClinton, F 1-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 2
Madison Jones, G 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 4 0 0 2 1 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-56 12-23 8-15 13 24 37 18 4 0 14 14 72
46.4% 52.2% 53.3%

Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None