Miami fought for 40 minutes, but it wasn’t quite enough, falling to the Duke Blue Devils 80-76 in the ACC semifinals. Kam McGusty led the way for Miami with a game-high 24 points and 7 rebounds. Jordan Miller, who has become a vital cog in this offense with his play close to the basket, notched a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Canes trailed for most of the second half after leading for most of the first. Still, they scratched and clawed to stay in it and trailed by only one with a minute left. They had a chance to tie in the final minute, but McGusty was whistled for a travel.
Miami shot a respectable 47% from the field, but only went 6 of 12 at the free throw line, which proved to be a killer. Also, they simply couldn’t stop Duke defensively in the second half, who just dominated the glass and inside offensively with their superior frontcourt size. Duke gave the ball away 7 times in the first half, which allowed Miami to score in spurts and lead for most of the half. They were much more careful with the ball in the second half, which - with Duke’s aforementioned size - made the difference.
Miami will now wait for their seed on Sunday. Most pundits have them in the field as a 10 seed. That would be fine with me. Anything but the play in game. With a 10-2 record in true road games and a 5-2 quad 1 mark, this team has done enough to avoid the First Four. Hopefully the selection committee agrees. We’ll see soon enough.