Miami Falls to BC, 65-61

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The BankUnited Center was as loud as University of Miami coach Frank Haith has ever heard it. But the atmosphere and incredible crowd noise wasn't enough to push the ‘Canes over the top down the stretch as they dropped a disappointing contest to Boston College 65-61 Saturday night in front of the crowd of 6,706 that had the on-campus arena rocking like never before.

Up 54-51 following a Hite 19-footer with 4:49 to play, the ‘Canes failed to score over the next 3:32 as the Eagles took a 57-54 lead before Anthony King hit a free throw with 1:13 to play to the cut the deficit to two.

But on Boston College's ensuing possession, Jared Dudley found freshman guard Tyrese Rice open on the wing well beyond the three-point arc. Rice was forced to take a 26-footer with the shot clock winding down and swished the rainbow jumper through at the buzzer to give Boston College (14-4, 2-3) a 60-55 lead with 37 seconds to play.

"It was tough," Hite said. "He shot it from almost half court and nothing but net. He made a good shot."

After getting three straight great games from the backcourt, this time, it was the one who didn't play well that was the difference.

With Hite dropping in a team-high 22 points on 9 of 19 shooting and Guillermo Diaz adding 18 points and five assists, point guard Anthony Harris was no where to be found as he struggled from the floor and with his ball control.

Harris didn't score until there was one second remaining when he hit a three to give the final margin of the game. He also committed five turnovers while dishing only four assists. He was 1 for 9 from the field overall and his lack of production was sorely missed.

"Harris had a tough night tonight," Haith said. "I thought he tried to force some things early on."

Because of Harris' struggles, freshman Denis Clemente got plenty of playing time in the second half while helping lead the ‘Canes back from a 36-29 deficit, turning it into a 43-36 leading following a 14-0 run keyed by Diaz and Hite.

After a Diaz lay up tied the game at 36, the crowd erupted to decibels unheard of in ‘Canes history. Diaz also showed some emotions that have rarely been seen from him as he was popping his collar after tying the game. The deafening roars of the crowd drowned out announcer Jay Rokeach.

The noise continued to increase when Hite drained a three from the corner to give Miami a 41-36 and peaked when Hite scored on an assist from Clemente to push the lead to seven.

But the experienced Eagles answered right back with a 7-0 run to tie it at 43. Clemente responded with back-to-back threes on assists by Diaz to give Miami a 49-46 lead with 8:45 to play.

Clemente's conditioning though or lack of conditioning caught up with him though. When Clemente left the game, Miami's offensive woes began.

"He was tired," Haith said. "He asked to come out."

Up three, Diaz had a chance to push the lead to five, but rather than taking a direct wide open lay up, he tried to reverse it and missed. The miss led to an easy bucket for Dudley cutting the lead to one.

"We botched up a number of plays tonight," Haith said. "Against a team like B.C., you can't afford to do that. They never appeared rattled even when we went up seven. Remember, this team was 20-0 in the Big East last year."

Diaz's miss was the turning point as he followed that with an ill-advised three-point attempt. Dudley countered with a lay up for a 55-54 lead and Diaz missed another three following a UM timeout.

On Miami's next possession Diaz attacked the hoop and had his shot returned to sender by Sean Williams.

Boston College's beast inside Craig Smith drained two free throws to give the Eagles a three-point lead before King's free throw ended the drought. Smith led Boston College with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

But the ‘Canes cannot afford to put their heads down as they travel to Charlottesville to play Virginia Tuesday in another big ACC game.

"Somehow we have to find a way to put this one behind us," Haith said. "In 48 hours we are playing again. Virginia's been sitting there waiting on us. We have to have toughness going on the road. It's going to be a tough environment."

Haith also had a message for the fans.

"It was a great atmosphere. I want to thank all our fans and students," Haith said. "That was awesome. It was as loud as it's ever been since I've been here. Hopefully, it wont deter them from coming back with the loss tonight."

Miami (11-7, 3-2) – Hite 22, Diaz 18, King 7, Clemente 6, Hamilton 5, Harris 3.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is the Basketball Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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