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Monday Musings: Canes hoops comes up big in crunch time

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Miami (FL) Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports


And you wonderful individuals and loyal readers know what that means. It’s time to put on our orange suits, pour some green beer, and get down to the Canes-related beats pumping straight out of my noggin.

Let’s party, y’all...

1) Wooooooooooooooooooooooo, buddy. Did the Canes need that one on Saturday afternoon at the Wat, defeating Virginia Tech 82-74. I had some family stuff going on for most of the day, but I saw that the Canes were down 35-26 at the half. An unbelievable yet totally believable first-half performance from a team that can’t seem to find itself from game to game, or even half to half sometimes.

2) Fortunately, that switch flipped in the second half for Miami. In particular, it flipped in the second half of the second half. The Hokies managed to stem Miami’s attempts to make a run for the first 8 minutes, keeping UM down in the 7 to 10-point range.

However, the script finally flipped with Virginia Tech leading 57-47 with around 12 minutes left in the game. Over the next five and a half minutes, Miami held the Hokies to two points on the way to a 13-2 run and a 60-59 lead.

Virginia Tech answered with a 6-0 run to retake the lead at 65-60 and instill some doubt with a little over 4 minutes left.

3) However, Norchad Omier was a beast when they needed him to be. He spun to the basket and banked it off the glass to give Miami the lead for good at 68-67, his sixth points since the Canes fell behind 65-60. Clutch, clutch offense when Miami needed it.

4) And he teed it up for Kyshawn George, who delivered the kill shots for Miami. A driving layup plus one pushed Miami’s lead to four. On the next series, he came up with a steal that ended with two Matthew Cleveland three throws to give Miami control of the game at 73-67 with under a minute and a half left. Huge.

5) And man, I have to give it up for Joe Zagacki. The Canes’ radio announcer was losing his mind as Miami finished the game on a 22-9 run. You could hear the emotion in his voice - and the crowd roaring behind him - on every big play Miami made down the stretch. Fun to listen to.

6) And that emotion is borne out of particular urgency for this Miami team. They HAD to have that game to stay in the early February tournament conversation. With the win, they improve to 15-7 overall and 6-5 in the ACC. Those marks are pretty much what you expect to see from bubble teams, which Miami probably borderline is right now. However, they’re very likely on the wrong side of it with that ultra-hideous Louisville home loss on their resume.

7) So the Canes need to do something about that tonight by grabbing an impressive road win at Virginia. A very, very tall task, as the Cavaliers are on a six-game winning streak and sit at 8-3 in the ACC.

But hey, streaks are meant to be broken right?

Go Canes!