Down by as many as nine midway through the second half, the University of Miami men’s basketball team looked to the charity stripe in order to fight its way back into the game against the University of Virginia Monday night.
Down 35-26, the Hurricanes only converted on four field goals in the final 16:48 of both regulation and overtime, while hitting 18-of-20 shots from the free throw line.
Miami (19-8, 9-6 ACC) played 45 minutes with a strong defensive effort, holding the Cavaliers to only 48 points, on a night the Hurricanes scored a season-low in points offensively.
The strong defensive effort began in the opening half, where Miami held Virginia (18-9, 8-7 ACC) to its fewest points this season, when heading into the locker room.
Following a pair of free throws by Isaiah Wilkins with 3:47 left to play in the opening half, UVA led the game, 19-14. UM would close out the half knocking down a pair of threes, its first two of the game, by senior guard Davon Reed and freshman guard DJ Vasiljevic to give the Canes the 20-19 halftime lead.
This marked only the sixth time all year Miami entered the break leading the game over a ranked opponent, with a record of 1-3 in its previous four outings.
Looking for their first win at John Paul Jones Arena under head coach JimLarrañaga, the Hurricanes were leading, 26-23, with 14:57 left to play in regulation.
The host would then take its largest lead of the night (nine), as the Cavaliers went on a 12-0 run.
Down 35-26, Miami answered with a 17-6 run of its own, highlighted by a game tying 3-pointer by Vasiljevic with 1:04 left to play.
Up 43-41, a foul was called on Miami with four seconds remaining, placing Wilkins at the line where he evened the score at 43 apiece.
Reed took the ensuing inbounds pass the length of the court, where he heaved up a shot from beyond the arc. Despite knocking down the shot, a video review was used to determine he released the ball just after the buzzer.
Trailing, 48-47 with 23.8 seconds left in overtime, freshman guard Bruce Brown knocked down a crucial 3-pointer to give the Canes a lead it would not look back on.
Following four consecutive free throws, Miami outscored the Cavaliers 11-5 in the overtime period to seal its second victory of the season over a ranked opponent.
Up next for the Hurricanes, a return to the Watsco Center against Duke Saturday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.