A late surge wasn’t enough to propel the Miami Hurricanes past the Seton Hall Pirates in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament.
Getting to the game by beating La Salle and Fresno State, Miami looked sharp to win the Thanksgiving classic.
But a three-pronged attack by from the Pirates kept Miami’s hands off the hardware.
Forward Michael Nzei was a force down low, scoring 21 points off 8-8 FG. Nzei did not hit a three-pointer, on a relatively quiet night for his team beyond the ark.
Most of Seton Hall’s three-pointers came from guard Miles Powell. The New Jersey native went 4-12 on 3FG on his way to 17 points. All but two of the Pirate’s long went through Powell.
Quincy McKnight had one of the other three-pointers, and led Seton Hall in assists with five while also scoring 16 points.
The Canes own attack had a more than solid night as well. Zach Johnson—after a breakout performance on the semifinal against Fresno State—had another outstanding game, with 18 points on 5-7 FG.
Johnson led Miami in scoring along with Chris Lykes, who brought his own 18 point output.
Anthony Lawrence had 17 points but went 0-5 on 3FG, a bad omen for Miami when every point truly mattered.
The first half was a back-and-forth. No team led by more than five, and the game was tied at the break.
With six minutes to go in the second half, Seton Hall grabbed a seven point lead, largest all night from either side.
Almost three minutes went by down the stretch without a made basket from either side, and Ebuka Izundu went to the free throw line at the end of this drought, with two shots and an opportunity to tie the game at 82 with 41 seconds to play.
Izundu, however, make only 1-2. DJ Vasiljavic has one last chance, hoisting a three-point attempt with six seconds left, but ultimately missing and giving Seton Hall a close 83-81 win.
The Canes will make the transcontinental journey back home to play Rutgers on Wednesday in the ACC/Big 10 challenge. Tip off is at 7:15 at the Watsco Center, and will be televised on ESPNU.