Your hot, sticky sweet Miami Hurricanes are going to the Sweet Sixteen!
Last night Miami beat Illinois to advance to the round of 16 teams and keep their dreams alive for their first men's basketball national championship. Miami now travels to Washington D.C. where they will face Marquette on Thursday at 7 PM at The Verizon Center.
The game against the Fighting Illini was a difficult challenge right up to the final whistle.Shane Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left as Miami gained possession of a ball knocked out of bounds that looked as though it might have gone off of Kenny Kadji's hand and probably should have gone to Illinois. This bit of good fortune helped the Hurricanes hold on for a 63-59 victory Sunday night to advance to the NCAA round of 16.
After Larkin's first field goal in about 9 1/2 minutes, D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami's Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.
Reggie Johnson, or as some fans affectionately call him "Pizza The Hut", continued his struggles on the court as he had another tough night coming off the bench and into the game. When he did insert himself into the contest just before the half it led to another turnover as he failed to convert on a perfect pass from Larkin under the basket.
Second-year Miami coach Jim Larranaga had said he planned to have more fun than any other coach in the NCAA tournament, and wanted his team to do the same. Yet, this game was anything but fun, and not so fun to watch for Miami fans, as the Hurricanes had to fight to the end, and get what looked like a lucky break, to finish off the Illini.
Brown and Larkin both had two free throws in the final 16 seconds to seal the deal and keep Miami's hopes for a national championship alive for at least one more round of the NCAA tourney.
- With the win, Miami advanced to the Sweet 16 for only the second time in school history.
- The Canes will play No. 2 seed Marquette on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
- Miami improved to 6-6 all-time in seven NCAA tournament appearances.
- The Hurricanes increased their single-season school-record wins total to 29.
- Miami shot 40 percent from the field against Illinois and improved to 19-2 when shooting 40-49 percent from the field.
- Cousy Award finalist Shane Larkin now has three straight games with 5+ assists.
- Rion Brown finished the game with 21 points and connected on five 3-pointers.