With Duke and Notre Dame on deck, Miami could not afford a sub par performance nor a loss today VS the Boston College Eagles.
And while they may not have fired on all cylinders, they did get an important win.
The new starting line-up featuring Omar Sherman at the 4, and Deandre Burnett in the back court, moved the ball very well on UM's opening possession resulting on a 3 ball for Sheldon McClellan.
It was one of their better possessions of the day.
BC found some nice looks early as well, with Olivier Hanlan and 7 footer Dennis Clifford finding good open looks to knot things up early on.
Tonye Jekiri showed he was the better of the two bigs though, and sparked a mini run with a few buckets of his own and a big time block of Clifford at the other end, as the 'Canes opened an early 5 point lead.
It would be the start of a very big day for UM's center.
When both teams went to the bench the Hurricanes still had an a advantage. Manu Lecomte came in and got two early buckets and found Jekiri on a nice look as well, and Miami held a nice working advantage over the Eagles through out the first half.
The highlight of the first half was a beautiful steal of an outlet pass by TJ that he took in for an and one leading to a 27-14 lead.
Jekiri would finish the opening stanza with10 points and 9 rebounds and UM would take a 29-21 lead to the locker room.
Hanlan paced Boston College with 13.
Despite Tonye's big play and a stellar defensive performance (BC was 1-13 over a 9 minute stretch) Coach L and staff had to feel like Miami should have a had a bigger lead. They settled for far too many long range jumpers and would hit just 4 of 12 from deep in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, Angel Rodriguez tried to fix that problem all on his own, and got UM's first four buckets ALL with drives to the hoop.
His will, Jekiri's work on the glass, and Miami's stout defense, would open a double digit lead.
The 'Canes weren't exactly running great offensive sets, but they did play very hard on nearly every possession of the final 20 minutes.
But BC also didn't fold, and back to back buckets by Hanlan and Clifford sparked a 9-2 run that would cut the lead to 6, all with Angel on the bench.
Rodriguez returned, and immediately found McClellan for a nice bucket off a cut.
But Hanlan nailed another triple to cut it to 5.
Things continued to heat up, with Eddie Odio nailing a triple for BC, only to be matched by a conventional three point play by Burnett to make it 48-41 'Canes with 7 to go.
Rodriguez to McClellan on a pretty alley hoop kept it at 7 moments later, but BC answered with a pair of sweet buckets of their own, including a Hanlan to Garland Owens to cut it to three.
And moments later Aaron Brown locked things up at 50 with a great look from distance.
But Lecomte cooly knocked down one of his own off the dribble to retake the lead. It was UM's first 3 pointer made in 12 attempts.
Down the stretch, Miami rode McClellan and Rodriguez on offense, and scratched and clawed on defense (with some help from some big missed FTs by the Eagles) to come away with their first ACC win, just barely.
Rodriguez finished with 17 points. Jekiri put up 13 points and 15 boards.
Next up, Miami heads to Durham to face Dick Vitale's favorite team, Tuesday 1/13 at 9PM.
They will need to play a whole lot better to have a shot in that one.