For a half, the University of Miami men's basketball team looked like a defensive machine and looked primed to open the ACC season with a 2-0 start. Wake Forest had only 20 points in the first half the ‘Canes held a 33-20 lead going into the break.
But a second half collapse led to a heart breaking 59-58 loss and lead to questions now that ask who will be playing the next time to ‘Canes take to the floor Monday night now that Anthony King and Adrian Thomas are out for the year, Jack McClinton is hobbling on a gimpy knee and now Denis Clemente is possibly out with a thigh contusion.
After blazing their way to a 72-71 road win over UMass Tuesday behind 33 points by Anthony Harris, the ‘Canes couldn't find the basket Saturday night against the Demon Deacons, yet they led by as many as 17 points in the second half before an injury to Clemente began their demise.
Suffering from his own knee injury that is clearly not back to normal, McClinton took over the point guard duties and quickly turned the ball over. It led to a Wake Forest lay up sparking the rally.
To make matters worse, McClinton and Harris combined for 25 points, but needed 32 shots to get there. With McClinton having his worst shooting night as a Hurricane going 4 for 20 from the field and Harris not playing the same way he did against UMass and Clemente succumbing to an injury midway through the second half, the ‘Canes simply fell apart down the stretch.
"We just needed to keep our composure," McClinton said. "We sped up instead of slowing down and the game went downhill from there."
Harvery Hale who led the Demon Deacons with 17 points scored all of his points in the final 12 minutes of the game as he keyed the comeback with Wake Forest outscoring Miami 27-7 over the next nine minutes taking a 54-51 lead with 3:26 to play following three-pointer by Shamaine Dukes and a free throw by Michael Drum.
It was Wake Forest's first lead of the game.
Early on though it looked like Miami coming in with momentum following Tuesday's win had it carry over as the ‘Canes took a commanding 16-3 lead in the first five minutes of the game.
The lead grew to 21-5 before the Demon Deacons cut it to 21-13 following an 8-0 run, but Miami finished the half on a 12-7 run.
The ‘Canes didn't stop early in the second half as scored six of the first eight points on a pair of threes by Harris and Brian Asbury. A three by McClinton followed by a jumper by Raymond Hicks gave the ‘Canes a 44-27 lead.
It was downhill from there.
"It's rough having a big lead and watching it drift away slowly," Harris said.
But like Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said following the game, "Every ACC win is precious, especially road wins."
As much as Wake Forest made the comeback, it was the ‘Canes that let yet another game get away that they had in their grasp, another disappointment in a disappointing season.
Miami (8-8, 1-1) – McClinton 13, Harris 12, Asbury 9, Clemente 8, Collins 7, Hicks 4, Dews 3, Copeland 2.
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Canes fall to Wake Forest
Canes Time Top Stories
Miami vs. Virginia Tech HighlightsJerod Evans had 357 yards of total offense and 3 scores to lead the Hokies to a 37-16 win over the Hurricanes. Travon McMillian rushed for 131 yards and Bucky Hodges caught 2 TDs…
Canes TimeYesterday at 9:59 PM
Post Virginia Tech: Mark RichtRead on to see everything head coach Mark Richt was saying following his team's loss to Virginia Tech Thursday night.
Canes TimeYesterday at 9:54 PM
Virginia Tech 37 , Miami 16Here are some game notes from Miami's 21-point loss to the Hokies.
Canes TimeYesterday at 9:52 PM
State of the Canes: DefenseThe Hurricanes are 4-2 and preparing to play at Virginia Tech Thursday night. Read on for a complete analysis of Miami's defense at this point in the season.
Canes TimeTuesday at 8:15 PM