The men’s basketball team lost its third straight game last Sunday against Miami, 64-63. The loss was Tech’s fourth home conference loss on the year. They have just one conference win, a victory over Virginia Tech back in January.
The game was a defensive struggle for much of the game, with the two teams combining for 40 turnovers. Tech committed 15 turnovers in the first half alone.
“It was a hard fought ballgame. In the first half, I thought that both teams were struggling offensively to get any kind of rhythm,” said Miami Head Coach Frank Haith.
Matt Causey led the team with 20 points. This included a contested three-point shot at the end of the game. Causey went up for the shot with just seconds left and many thought there was contact on the shot. If Miami had been called for a foul, Tech would have had the opportunity to tie the game.
“It was a tough one for us to swallow. We had a three point lead, and they missed a shot. We’ve got two guys down there, and we have to come up with the ball. Give them credit. [Anthony] King got the rebound, made the basket, and made the free throw to tie the game back up,” said Tech head coach Paul Hewitt.
Jeremis Smith and Maurice Miller combined for 16 points. While they contributed on the floor, they struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 6-of-14 free throws. This was made worse by the fact that both players missed several one-and-one shots, negating a chance at a second free throw.
Miami junior guard Jack McClinton was able to lead Miami to the victory, hitting several critical threes at the end of the game. While he struggled to make his shots in the middle of the game, McClinton had most of his points at the end of the game.
“It came down to 60-57, they miss a shot, we’ve got two guys under there and they have one. We just have to come up with that rebound. It changes the whole game. With 1:27 left you are up three with the ball, as opposed to tie score. And then Anthony got another good look, but we went to the well one too many times. We could have gone inside at that point, but [McClinton] did have the hot hand. We ran a pretty good set and we got him a good look,” Hewitt said.
The game had several lead changes and ties throughout the game, with Tech stretching its largest lead to seven while Miami’s biggest lead was five points. Miami shot just 35.2 percent from the field while Tech also struggled, shooting 41.5 percent. Tech’s poor ball handling and rebounding problems hurt the Jackets.
“A couple of times we tried to dribble loose balls, and you just can’t do that. In a game like this where you know that it’s going to come down to one possession, a game where both teams are battling to try to move up in the standings, you give them credit for coming up with more loose balls than we did,” Hewitt said.
During the first half, Alade Aminu and Miami’s freshman guard Eddie Rios tangled up trying to gain possession of the ball. It became a little heated, and the pair fell on one of the referees, tackling him to the ground. For the rest of the game, Rios was booed every time he touched the ball. He did not play for much of the second half, getting into foul trouble. He finished with three points on 1-of-5 shotting from the field.
The Jackets are having a losing season, but have reversed a woeful trend they have had from the last two years. They have thrived on the road, often keeping games close against higher ranked opponents, but have lost almost every close game they have had back at home. They lost to Kansas, Florida State, North Carolina and now Miami by a combined nine points.
“We just want to play on the road,” Smith said.
They have a road swing where they visit Virginia Tech tomorrow at 2 p.m. They then visit Durham, N.C. on Feb. 27 in a nationally televised game against No. 5 Duke, for their only meeting of the regular season.