Davon Reed’s 21 points paved the way for a Miami victory, despite playing with a depleted roster.
Before the game the Hurricanes announced Ja’Quan Newton was suspended for three games (he was suspended three games last year as well) for violating team rules, and Miami lost center Ebuka Izundu just over a minute into the second half.
Off the bench Dejan Vasiljevic scored 13 points and Dewan Huell, who was fighting an ankle injury, added 13 more.
The 'Canes (17-8, 7-6) now sit tied with Virginia Tech in the 8th spot in the ACC and have improved their record at the Watsco Center to 12-2. But what will be remembered about this game? It was truly a test of will, and Miami’s toughness and grit was on full display throughout the entire game.
The ‘Canes aggressiveness on offense paid off, resulting in attempting 24 more free-throws then Ga. Tech. They were 22/27 from the line, compared to the Yellow Jackets, who were just 2/3.
Miami led 38-32 at the break, but Ga. Tech came out hot in the second half and Josh Okogie hit a 3-pointer with just over 14 minutes left to give Tech a 46-45 lead. A shallow roster had fought hard for Miami all night, and now with no Izundu could the ‘Canes muster a run?
Reed and Huell put together a few buckets and Miami didn’t trail the rest of the game.
The Hurricanes needed this game, and even shorthanded they got it. But Miami has a tough road ahead. They host Clemson on Saturday and then have a quick turnaround to play at #14 Virginia on Monday (both without Newton). And when the ‘Canes get their point guard back they will play #12 Duke, Va. Tech and #17 FSU.
Despite Miami’s solid record in one of the toughest conferences in NCAAB, they still have work to do.
Coach L’s squad is just 1-5 against AP ranked teams, but with three left on the schedule they have plenty of chances to get another resume-building win.