Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cinderella Run Falls Short for Canes

March 14, 2010

As the last seed in the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament the Miami Hurricanes were not expected to do much. Facing a strong Wake Forest team in the opening round, it was supposed to be Miami's first and last taste of the postseason. But after handing stunning defeats to both Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, the Canes were emboldened to face the first-ranked Blue Devils in the semifinals.

To much of Miami's dismay, destiny was not on their side in their third go around. Although St. Patrick's day is around the corner and the age old cliche states "third time's the charm," luck was not on UM's side.

At the half, Miami was ahead 35-32 against the Dukies and was in good position to embark on (what would have been) their greatest upset yet. But the scenario was all too familiar for the Blue Devils as they faced a similar situation in their last match-up against the Canes. Trailing at the half, Duke upstage Miami in the second half and downed the Canes on their home court to the tune of 81-74 in their second regular season meet.

As fate would have it, Duke came storming out after the half to take a quick lead and capitalize early on a young Miami squad. Two consecutive Kyle Singler three-pointers gave Duke the lead, a lead that would not be recaptured by Miami the rest of the way. The Canes began to come apart at the seams during Duke's offensive tear, which placed the Devils ahead by 16 at one point.

Nevertheless, the Canes did not lack the heart to mount a valiant comeback. Miami answered with a run of their own late in the second half to bring the game within five points. It was time and the Blue Devils' cold-blooded shooters that stood in the way of the Canes come-from-behind victory. The final buzzer signaled the end of Miami's cinderella run for the ACC title and an NCAA tournament berth.

The promising performances by freshmen Durand Scott (21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals) and Reggie Johnson (14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks) held the Dukies in check and kept the Canes in the mix. Sophomore Malcom Grant also chimed in with 17 points of his own to aid in that effort. This commendable effort by UM's youngest players says plenty about the programs future and Frank Haith's recruiting.

It is the hope and progress of these athletes that will make Miami's chances at playing in the big dance next year even more possible.  

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