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Canes Hoops: Miami Mounts Furious Comeback but Falls Short at Georgia Tech

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In spite of a spirited effort after halftime, the Hurricanes would lose their second straight conference matchup.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes were down 20 in the second half of Saturday night’s matchup against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion. From that point on, Jim Larrañaga’s team would outscore the home side 28-14, but a scoring drought of no points in the final 4:08 of the game would cost the Canes dearly down the stretch, on their way to a 63-57 loss.

The result fails to reestablish the momentum in Miami’s season, now having lost two straight after winning three consecutive games.

It was still a tale of two haves for the teams in Atlanta, with UM (14-14, 6-12 ACC) outshining Georgia Tech from the field 34-30% in the second half after being on the short end of the same metric by nine percentage points after 20 minutes. Miami also outscored the Jackets 33-23 in half two, after going into halftime down 16.

Both teams shot poorly from 3-point range, with the Hurricanes’ 12% slightly worse than Georgia Tech’s 15%. UM won the turnover battle 18-17, but were out rebounded 48-33. On the flip side, the Canes’ bench outscored Georgia Tech’s by 22-6 points.

The loss puts Miami into the current 11th seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a week and a half to go until the league tournament, ahead of Wake Forest on only head-to-head record and a half-game behind Virginia Tech. The 11th seed and the three teams below must participate in the play-in round a day before the gulf of conference teams begin their tournament, with Georgia Tech barred from the Greensboro competition due to an NCAA postseason ban.

For the Hurricanes, Chris Lykes got hot in the second half—not unlike his team—to score a team-high 14 points after struggling for much of the night. Kameron McGusty added 11 points of his own, while the freshman pair of Isaiah Wong and Harlond Beverly struggled, only combining for 12 points.

Jose Alvarado’s 16 points were a game-high for the Yellow Jackets, while teammates Michael Devoe and James Banks III added 14 and 13 respectively.

The Yellow Jackets took a 40-24 lead into the break, never relinquishing their advantage in the first half after the 15 minute mark. UM didn't make a shot from 3-point range in the opening period, with Wong, Beverly, Miller but nobody else scoring at least six points.

Devoe’s eight points meanwhile led all GT players after 20 minutes, with his team outshooting the Canes 48-39% from the field.

The first half was simply too much to overcome for Miami, who nearly dug themselves out of their major hole but left no margin for error in the waining minutes.

Miami heads home for the home stretch of the regular season, next in action at the Watsco Center against defending national champions Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday at 9 p.m. UM will then conclude their home slate next Saturday at 4 p.m. verses the Syracuse Orange. Both games will be televised on ACC Network.