Down 66-63 with 10.7 seconds to play, the ‘Canes had one last chance to tie the game and send it into overtime, but after the Demon Deacons refused to let Robert Hite get open in the corner for the scripted play and after Guillermo Diaz, the second option was locked on, Anthony Harris took an ill advised three-pointer from 30-feet out that hit nothing but air bouncing out of bounds.
"I thought it was tipped," Harris said of his attempt that left his hand with over six seconds to play with Miami still having a timeout. " Jamal Levy flew at me and I thought he tipped it, but it doesn't matter cause the ref said he didn't touch it."
But that was just the final chance in a game that saw Miami have so many chances to win this game it became borderline ridiculous.
Facing the fifth-ranked Demon Deacons in a game that was as winnable as any the ‘Canes have played this year, Miami simply could not make the plays down the stretch.
From failed box outs to grab defensive rebounds to missed free throws to miserable three-point shooting, the ‘Canes left too many points off the board that would have made the difference.
"Against a team like Wake Forest, you can't make mistakes like not boxing out," UM coach Frank Haith said. "We were in the game all the way to the end, but couldn't make the plays necessary."
Two plays in particularly that stood out came in the final two minutes of the game.
Down 63-61 following two free throws by Diaz with 1:31 to play, the ‘Canes needed a stop to have a chance to tie the game, but a failed double-team attempt on Chris Paul allowed him to drive right to the basket for an uncontested left handed lay up.
That gave Wake Forest a 65-61 lead with 1:03 to play.
Diaz followed that with a quick lay up to cut the lead to two again.
But another huge lapse cost the ‘Canes the game.
After having a great defensive stand that forced Paul into an errant 8-footer from the corner with 40 seconds to play. Miami didn't get the defensive rebound--something they struggled with all game--allowing Eric Williams to grab the offensive rebound. His put back attempt fell short, but he was fouled on the play.
Hitting one of two free throws, he gave the Demon Deacons a three-point lead.
"We have to grab the rebound in that situation," Haith said. "That's the difference in beating a great team like Wake Forest. Just a few plays."
But it's plays like the not grabbing a rebound that cost the ‘Canes in a game that would have certainly made their resume in their hunt to get a bid into the NCAA Tournament.
And when it's as winnable as this one was, it hurts even more.
After going into the half with the score tied at 33-33, the game was tied at 42-42 and 44-44 before Wake Forest went on an 8-2 run taking a 52-46 lead on a dunk by Kyle Visser with 9:36 to play.
The ‘Canes struck back with five straight to cut the lead to one, but a 9-2 run pushed the lead to 61-53 with 4:31 to play.
The 'Canes cut it to two at 63-61 on Diaz's free throws, but could get no closer.
Diaz led Miami with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting, but Miami was miserable from behind the arc, shooting 3-of-18 from three-point range.
Anthony Harris added 14 points, but cramps forced him to the bench during Wake Forest's 9-2 run that pushed the game out of reach.
The ‘Canes next take on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Canes Fall 68-63 to #5 Wake Forest
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