Another big time matchup, another tragic tale of two halves for Jim Larranaga’s Miami Hurricanes (16-8, 6-6 ACC).
On the road, against the No. 4 ranked Louisville Cardinals and in front of a hostile KFC Yum! Center (yeah, that stadium will never sound ‘hostile’), the Canes almost did the damn thing. Miami won the first half by seven and lost the second half by 12. Folks, that’s what you call a soul crushing five-point loss.
Led by a defiant Ja’Quan Newton — who’s still not a true point guard — the Canes were ready for war from the get-go, jumping out to a swift 8-0 advantage. Through their usually stout defense and a cool, composed offense, Miami extended the lead to as much as 14 points during the first half.
Quan finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and just one turnover. He even nailed two 3-pointers, quite the revelation for a 24.2% shooter from distance. It wasn’t a particularly bright game for freshman star Bruce Brown, but he continued to do a little bit of everything. With some NBA-like finishes, Brown ended with 12P/7R/4A and in the process securing the all-important 2K Triple Double.
The U led for precisely 32 minutes and 57 seconds minutes of the contest. They held their last lead with 7:03 remaining in the second half. Hence, the rightful ‘soul crushing’ label for this one.
The name of staying in/taking over this game for the Cardinals was offensive rebounding. It was their saving grace in a victory that had all the signs and makings of a major upset. Second chances freakin’ galore today in Louisville. Our brave leader Cam Underwood had this to say about the State of the U’s rebounding:
I love Bruce Brown but when a 6'5" guard is leading the team in rebounds, there's a problem.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) February 11, 2017
Truly speaking, Miami’s utter ineptitude in the final 20 minutes to solidify a defensive stop and grab a board was astonishing. Fourteen offensive rebounds total for the Cardinals, nine of which occurred in the second frame. Sure, Miami lost Dewan Huell with just under 20 to go, but rest assured, Huell’s presence likely wouldn’t have prevented the Great Glass Massacre of 2017.
What’s that? Miami’s three leading rebounders in today’s game, you ask?
Why, none other than OUR THREE STARTING GUARDS: Brown, Newton and Davon Reed.
Next time, more UNC game and less Duke game, PLEASE.
Back to the Watsco Center on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech is coming to town.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Count Louisville as the one team that has Larranaga’s number. Miami falls to 3-10 all-time against Louisville, and 0-4 when playing at KFC Yum! Center. Larrañaga is 1-3 at Miami against the Cardinals.