Durand Scott scored seventeen for Miami, while Kenny Kadji added fifteen. Both were relied on heavily due to the loss of center Reggie Johnson, who was declared ineligible an hour before tip off.
Johnson was seated as an investigation revealed that members of his family received benefits not allowed under NCAA rules, despite he and his family being unaware that any rules were broken. According to a UM statement, “Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by a member of the former basketball coaching staff.” (Thanks a lot, former basketball coaching staff member.)
The Canes improved to 17-10 on the season under first-year head coach Jim Larranaga. Miami heads to NC State on Wednesday and hosts Boston College at The BUC for the season finale.
Due to this upset of Florida State, media experts have Miami pegged to make the NCAA tourney. The cause was also helped with an upset at Duke weeks back.
Over 7,200 showed up to support the Canes on Sunday night – something Coach Larranaga said helped “elevate” his team. Regarding fans storming the court in the wake of the much-needed win, Florida State head coach – and former Miami leader – Leonard Hamilton found it “somewhat amusing”.
“It’s an extraordinary compliment to our team that they’d be so excited about beating FSU they’d charge the court,” said Hamilton, smiling. “That’s definitely foreign territory for us. But is says a little bit about the excitement growing around the UM team, and that’s good to see.”
Miami was down eight early, but put together a 13-2 run to end the first half, giving the Canes a 24-20 lead, after one.
The Canes opened the second half with a bang, outscoring the Noles 14-8 in the first 5:15 but Florida State rallied from a 59-42 deficit with 5:07 remaining and pulled it to 65-58 after two Michael Snaer free throws at the 2:39 mark.
Scott, Kadji and Shane Larkin each hit two free throws over the next minute, helping increase the Miami lead to 71-58. Miami outscored Florida State 54-42 in the second half.