For those who missed the game and only saw the box score, the essence of this contest truly wasn’t captured.
Truth be told, the Hurricanes were in a dogfight from the closeout of the first half to the final minutes of the game, down two at halftime and tied, 55-55 with three minutes remaining.
Miami jumped out to an early 15-4 lead, behind Kenny Kadji, who made an early jumper, earned a four-point play when fouled on a good three pointer and making the bonus shot. He added another free throw on the next possession and accounted for eight of the Canes’ first fifteen.
The lead stretched to 21-8 with 6:27 remaining in the half, Miami holding Boston College scoreless for over three minutes and without a field goal for almost six-and-a-half.
The Eagles came alive, though, scoring scoring ten unanswered in a two-minute span, tying the game, 23-23. The teams traded baskets and in the final seconds the Canes gave one away as a Ryan Anderson layup gave Boston College its first lead of the game, 27-25.
Boston College opened the second half with a Patrick Heckmann three-pointer, but Trey McKinney-Jones answered with one of his won. A few Heckmann free throws were met with a Julian Gamble dunk. Anderson made a jump and Shane Larkin responded with a three, pulling Miami to within one.
Though it shouldn’t have been the case, the game remained a slugfest with neither side able to take over. The Canes made some halftime adjustments and developed more of an inside game, opposed to settling for threes. The defense tightened up, too – but the Eagles continued hanging around and pulling out shots when needed.
Oliver Hanlan cooled down from his 41-point performance against Georgia Tech on Thursday, only scoring 14 against Miami, but he was still effective, going 5-of-10 from the field, with two three-pointers, and pulling down three rebounds. Heckmann led all Boston College scorers with fifteen, while Anderson got fourteen of his own.
Larkin, who started slow for Miami, with only two points in the first half, one assist and a handful of turnovers, finished the game with twenty. A late three-pointer, on the heels of a steal, pushed the Canes’ lead to, 60-57 wit 1:50 remaining.
This second-round game saw Miami discombobulated at times, but in the final three minutes showed why the Hurricanes are the top seed and considered one of the better teams in the nation, outscoring the Eagles, 14-3 after being deadlocked at 55.
Durand Scott his his free throws. Larkin hit his three and made a lay-up, off a gorgeous inbounds pass that looked like a streaking Phillip Dorsett being hit in stride by Stephen Morris on the gridiron.
From there Rion Brown made a jumper. Kadji hit three clutch free throws. McKinney-Jones pushed down a dunk, a few plays after his gorgeous pass to Larkin.
Boston College? Played like a two-seed early, but showed why they were number eight late. Fouls. Missed free throws. Jumpers falling short. The Eagles unraveled as the Canes prevailed and as a result Miami lives to see another day – which is part of the game. Top seeds don’t have to bring their A-game daily, barring they close out down the stretch, which UM did today.
No. 4 seed Virginia is prepping to take on No. 5 North Carolina State. Miami will face the winner at 1:00pm ET on Saturday and it goes without saying, play like a solid number-one seed in round three or this ride ends tomorrow.
The Canes won’t reach Sunday with a Friday-like performance.
Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched allCanesBlog.com. – the official blog for allCanes.com : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with XOFan.com and will be a guest columnist at CaneInsider.com this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.