No. 18 men’s basketball falls to Miami at home
Low scoring extends losing streak to four games
Despite an uplifting jersey retirement ceremony for former Cavalier Malcolm Brogdon, No. 18 Virginia couldn’t muster a victory Monday night over Miami, as their losing streak reached four games.
“It was there for the taking — and we didn’t,” coach Tony Bennett said. “It’s too bad — it was a special night, and that doesn’t take away from [Brogdon’s] night. That was awesome, and he’s one of the special ones. But it would’ve been good to have a nice feeling and celebrate what was a wonderful career for him.”
The Cavaliers (18-9, 8-7 ACC) haven’t lost four in a row since 2010, but their offensive woes continued in the 54-48 overtime loss against the Hurricanes (19-8, 9-6 ACC).
“We struggle to score, we’re not shooting well and [Perrantes] obviously didn’t have a strong game,” Bennett said. “So there’s a lot of things we’re trying to overcome, and we need everybody playing at a fairly solid level for us to be successful in this conference.”
The first half was low-scoring for both teams, as both Virginia and Miami entered intermission with 33.3 and 34.8 percent field goal shooting, respectively. The Hurricanes led 20-19 going into halftime.
Virginia scored their first points of the second half with 17:52 left in the game, as junior guard Devon Hall went in for a layup. Miami returned the favor with a score of their own and kept a one-point lead over the Cavaliers. The Hurricanes extended their lead over Virginia with a jumper from senior forward Kamari Murphy and led 26-23 before Hall scored from beyond the arc to tie the game at 26 apiece. Redshirt freshman forward Mamadi Diakite added onto the Virginia run, scoring a fadeaway jumper and earning a foul shot to put the Cavaliers up 29-26.
“[Diakite] did a couple good things for us, but it's where we’re at,” Bennett said. “Our inexperience is showing and we’re obviously sliding right now. We’ve got to fight like crazy to just play as well as we can.”
A quick layup from junior guard Darius Thompson extended the Virginia lead to 31-26, and the Murfreesboro, Tenn. native added two free throws on his ensuing possession to make the score 33-26. The Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run before Miami coach Jim Larranaga called a timeout.
After the break, an emphatic dunk from Diakite continued the Virginia run and extended the lead to 35-26 before Miami made a foul shot, bringing the score to 35-27. The Hurricanes continued to cut into the lead, making a hook shot and two foul shots to bring the score to 35-31. Junior guard Marial Shayok broke a short Virginia scoring drought with a long jumper, pushing the lead to 37-31.
However, the Cavalier defense was able to keep the team in the game — forcing Miami to commit 15 turnovers and remain at 36.6 percent field goal shooting.
The teams traded scores back and forth before Hall made two free throws to push the lead to 41-34, but the Hurricanes crawled back once again, making a hook shot and back-to-back free throws to cut into the lead, 41-38. A three-pointer from Dejan Vasiljevic tied the score at 41-41 with just 1:04 left in the contest.
Two made free throws put the Hurricanes up 43-41, and junior forward Isaiah Wilkins was fouled with just four seconds left. Larranaga took a Miami timeout after one made free throw by Wilkins, but it didn’t phase the junior, who made his second shot to tie the game back up at 43-43.
“I felt like we gave ourselves a little momentum and another shot at it,” Wilkins said. “We had our chances. We just couldn’t knock down shots and free throws.”
A near-buzzer beater by Davon Reed was called no good after an official review, and the game went into overtime. Hall kicked off the overtime period with a three pointer to give the Cavaliers an early 46-43 lead, but the Hurricanes responded with two made free throws. Hall led Virginia in scoring with 15 points, and Wilkins followed with 10 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Diakite fouled out with 2:42 left in the overtime period, and Miami got the chance for two more free throws, which they made to regain a 47-46 lead. Shayok fought back with a layup to give Virginia a 48-47 lead, but freshman guard Bruce Brown answered with a dagger of a three pointer to take a 50-48 lead. Brown led Miami in points with 14, while Murphy scored 10 points for the Hurricanes. The Cavaliers then fouled twice and saw the game slip away as the Hurricanes made all their free throws, pushing the final score to 54-48.
Free throws and offensive woes hurt Virginia in the end. The Cavaliers went 13 of 20 from the line, and shot just 31.4 percent over the course of the game. Senior point guard London Perrantes — the team’s leading scorer — continued his slump, going two of 15 for just four points.
“I wish I knew what was getting me out of rhythm so I could fix it,” Perrantes said. “I’m in a pretty deep slump right now and I need to figure out a way to get over it.”
The Cavaliers will try to find their rhythm as they hit the road to face NC State Saturday. Tip off is set for noon.