Another Tough Loss

Senior night in Miami was showcased by a brilliant performance by a star Senior player. The problem was that the player was on the opposite team. There was no pressure and yet the young Miami Hurricanes (11-16, 4-12) could not find a way to pull off the comeback win against a resilient St. Johns (15-12, 7-9) team led by star senior guard Marcus Hatten.

The Canes found out earlier in the day that they had qualified for the Big East Tournament after VT failed to beat WVU on the road. The pressure was off but Miami was still looking forward to building some type of momentum and winning back to back games before the Big East Tournament started. Their goal was left unfulfilled as the Canes could not overcome a horrible 1st half shooting performance and again lost by less than five points. Guards Marcus Hatten and Elijah Ingram led the way for the Red Storm and dominated the inexperienced Miami backcourt all game long. Miami could not find a way to stop the two guards who scored a combined 50 points and sealed the deal in the 2nd half with hot shooting from beyond the arc. Injured Forward, Darius Rice, who has been bothered by torn ligaments in his shooting hand, came up with a courageous effort in the 2nd half to score 26 points but his desperation 3 pointer at the end of the game was blocked.

The first half was representative of the entire Miami season. Poor shooting and early turnovers led to an early lead for the Red Storm. Miami shot 25% from the field in the 1st half and only had 5 FG's. Solid shooting from the free throw line was the only thing that kept Miami close and heading into halftime the Hurricanes were only down six by a score of 33 to 27. Marcus Hatten was shooting almost as cold as the entire Miami team in the 1st half but the 2nd half was an entirely different story. Fellow Guard Elijah Ingram led the way for the Red Storm as he did in the 1st meeting against the Hurricanes and was on fire from 3 point range.

The 2nd half was an entirely different story for Marcus Hatten. He was on fire and torched the Canes time and time again. Head Coach Perry Clark tried different strategies to try and contain the star Guard but his attempts were to no avail. Nothing worked, and every time Miami would inch closer Marcus would nail a tough contested jumper to dampen the Miami run. Darius Rice came on strong for the Hurricanes and ended the game with 26 points on 5-12 shooting from 3 point range. In his last game at the Convocation Center, Senior James Jones poured in 18 points and Robert Hite scored 13 points in only 19 minutes. The Hurricanes shot 53% from the field in the 2nd half, but that solid shooting percentage was matched by a blistering 64% shooting percentage displayed by the Red Storm in the 2nd half. Miami held the turnovers to 15 but in the end, could not overcome their dismal 1st half shooting.

It was a night to remember for the Miami Seniors, but it was junior Darius Rice who led the way as he has many times this season. His performance showed his heart and determination to try and give 110% game in and game out and led the Miami team in what was hopefully not his last game at the Convocation Center. Darius Rice and James Jones scored a combined 44 points but could not catch on fire at the same time during the game. Miami was fortunate to have witnessed a VT loss earlier in the day but needed this win to go into the Big East Tournament on a high note. Miami, who clinched the final 6th spot, will face Seton Hall who demolished the young Canes in their 1st meeting on Wednesday night at 9PM ET. St. Johns, which clinched the 5th spot, will play Notre Dame, the 4th place team from the WEST division. The Hurricanes will need to win four games in four days to come out on top of the Big East Tournament as that is also the only way they will qualify for the NCAA tournament. Miami started out slow and then came back to make the game close as they have so many times this year. Their have been many difficult, close losses all year long but the young Hurricanes need to keep their heads up as they travel to Madison Square Garden as there is still some hope to turn this season completely around.

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