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Miami Basketball Keeps NCAA Hopes Alive with Gutty Win at Pitt 67-63

Don't put the Hurricanes in the NIT just yet.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There was no disputing how important this game was for both teams.

And as if there wasn't enough drama for the 'Canes, they had to take on a desperate Pitt team on the road, on Senior Night with out Angel Rodriguez and with a less than 100% Sheldon McClellan.

McClellan made some big plays nonetheless and finished with 20 points, and Davon Reed played one of the best games of his career as the Hurricanes (19-11, 9-8) defeated a tough and desperate Pittsburgh squad in a hostile environment, 67-63.

UM jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind the solid all-around play of Reed, who had 5 quick points, a steal, and an assist before the first TV timeout.

But the Panthers got right back in it, behind their some aggressive work on the offensive glass and 6 quick points from senior guard Cameron Wright.

From there, both teams went on a cold streak.

But it was Pittsburgh who broke out first to build a 6 point lead as Michael Young scored both inside and out.

The 'Canes held tight though, sparked by a nice ally hoop from JaQuan Newton to Reed, and another Reed triple.

Jamel Artis answered with a three of his own though, and Pitt went to the intermission up 33-29.

In a highly competitive opening stanza the Panthers shot the ball better at 13-25 (52%) but UM who took better care of the ball (just 4 turnovers to 6).

Reed led all scorers with 12 first half points on 5-5 from the floor.

The second half started out with both teams red hot, especially Reed.

The sophomore knocked down a corner bomb, and followed it up with an athletic tip dunk.

He was matched by Artis and Young though, who both got free for buckets of their own to keep the Panthers on top.

UM finally took a second half lead on a three from Manu Lecomte.  The Hurricanes really shared the ball well in the second half.

But it didn't last long though as Young quickly evened things up with a baseline jumper.

It was a nip and tuck final 20 minutes, with neither team seizing control. There were 8 lead changes and 4 ties though the first 13 minutes of the second half.

Miami finally got some very minor breathing room on a stick back by Tonye Jekiri, and two FTs by Reed who tied a new career high this evening with 19.

With 4 to go, it was 57-53 'Canes.

A huge three by Artis, despite great D by UM, would up the pressure, before McClellan answered one possession later with a monster triple.

McClellan was money down the stretch.

After Young sliced the lead in half yet again, Mac knocked down a big time baseline jumper off the dribble to push it back to 62-58 with a minute to go.

Pitt kept fighting back, and even had a chance to tie it in the final 20 seconds, but Miami salted it away at the line for the all important win.

Next up UM takes on Virginia Tech on Saturday at Noon, in another must win scenario.

From there, they will travel to Greensboro next week for the ACC Tournament.

How many wins will they need there?

A lot of that will depend on what happens this weekend.

So far, so good though.