The Miami Hurricanes basketball team lost 73-64 to the No.7/8 North Carolina Tar Heels. They played hard and were leading at halftime, but turnovers were their demise. Coach Jim Larranga said, "One of the things about games like this is our players should recognize that they have control over their own destiny."
The first half, the Hurricanes were energized. Kenny Kadji scored the first three-pointer of the game and gave the Hurricanes early momentum. Trey McKinney Jones also got off to a fast start with eight points off the bench and two three-pointers. The Canes were draining threes early. With 7:25 on the clock, they were 4-9 from behind the arc. Durand Scott led the Hurricanes with 15 points on the day and a three of his own. Miami's largest lead was nine points. The crowd was the 6th man tonight. At one point, cheers of "Austin Rivers," from Duke who shot the game-winning shot to beat UNC, distracted Tyler Zeller enough to miss both free throws. The Hurricanes responded well to the highest attendance this season.
At halftime, the Hurricanes were soaring with a 35-30 lead. Both teams had 20 rebounds and the Tar Heels were 12-32 in field goals with no three-point shots.
The second half, the Hurricanes let the Tar Heels work their magic. Freshman Shane Larkin only played 11 minutes. "In practice, I think he's let up a little bit. He hasn't been nearly as focused as we need him to be," said Larranaga. Also, Larkin saw limited playing time due to North Carolina's size. Rion Brown was only 2-7 in field goals and had four personal fouls at the end of the night. He also missed a 1-1 free throw opportunity. Reggie Johnson led the team with 11 rebounds but had three personal fouls. He had two in the first five minutes of the game.
Rebounds were also an issue. North Carolina had four more offensive rebounds and six more total than Miami. John Henson alone had seven rebounds in the second half.
The Hurricanes also had eight turnovers in the half, 14 total in the game. North Carolina is notorious for taking advantage of turnovers. The Tar Heels had a 7-0 run to pull away from the Hurricanes. Harrison Barnes had 14 points in the second half, and led the game with 23 total points. Reggie Johnson responded, "They got shots we didn't. ... If you turn the ball over against these guys, they're gonna try and get the points."
The BankUnited Center drew the fourth largest crowd for a men's basketball game with 7,071 spectators. "We want our students to feel like school spirit is a very important part of your college life," Coach Larranaga explained. He has led the team around the dorms to get students hyped about Hurricanes basketball. "Players love that. They love that adrenaline that they get from the crowd."
Miami plays its next game against Wake Forest at 1 p.m. Saturday at home in the BankUnited Center.