No. 2 Miami edges Virginia
Freshman forward Evan Nolte rattled home a 3-pointer from the right wing with 14 seconds left to even the score at 50 apiece against No. 2 Miami Tuesday evening in Coral Gables, but Hurricane senior center Reggie Johnson exploited a defensive breakdown for a game-winning layup to propel Miami to its 14th straight victory, 54-50.
Johnson’s basket with five seconds remaining was the decisive moment in a back-and-forth game that saw Virginia (18-8, 8-5 ACC) storm back from a seven-point second-half deficit. Virginia still had an opportunity down by two, but sophomore guard Paul Jesperson threw away the in-bound pass to senior guard Durand Scott, sealing the Cavaliers’ fate.
The Cavaliers answered any lingering questions about its defensive identity in the opening period by allowing just 24 points in the half and producing one of its best overall road efforts of the season. But it was not enough against the nation’s hottest team.
Miami (22-3, 13-0 ACC) was led by sophomore guard Shane Larkin with 11 points and junior guard Rion Brown with 10 in the low-scoring affair to hand Virginia its 16th straight loss in the state of Florida.
Junior guard Joe Harris was the lone Cavalier in double figures with 16, and his 3-pointer with 59 seconds remaining tied the score at 46. He earned a trip to the free-throw line with 32 seconds left and Virginia trailing by two, but he missed the second free throw leading to Nolte’s heroics.
Virginia will return home for a rematch against Georgia Tech Sunday looking to extend its home winning streak to 15 games after an 0-2 road trip.
—compiled by Daniel Weltz