Feb. 07, 2016
With Miami clinging to a three-point lead and the shot clock running down, Ja’Quan Newton had no choice except to throw up a towering shot from the corner with a Georgia Tech player right in his face.
Nothing but net.
Sheldon McClellan scored 22 points, but Newton’s 3-pointer while falling out of bounds was the shot that carried the 17th-ranked Hurricanes to a 75-68 victory over hard-luck Georgia Tech on Sunday.
”That was the play we run at end of the shot clock,” coach Jim Larranaga quipped, trying to hold back a smile. ”Sometimes, you’ve got to be good. Sometimes, you’ve got to be lucky. In that particular case, he was both.”
Georgia Tech’s players couldn’t believe the shot went in.
Especially Charles Mitchell, who ran at Newton right as he launched it with 1:49 remaining.
”I was basically hugging and kissing him,” Mitchell said, shaking his head. ”Plays like that, they’re just pure luck.”
In a game that was tight all the way, the Hurricanes (18-4, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed a shot like that to hold on for their fifth win in six games. Newton’s basket made it 66-60, and Georgia Tech didn’t get closer than four points the rest of the game.
”It was the dagger,” Newton said.
Georgia Tech (12-11, 2-8) lost another tight one in the ACC, with all eight of its conference defeats being by less than 10 points.
Miami made nine straight free throws in the final minute to seal their second ACC road win.
”Every time you win on the road in the ACC, it’s a good win,” McClellan said. ”No matter who it’s against.”
The margin was never more than seven points, but Miami tenaciously led throughout the second half after being up 33-32 at the break.
The Yellow Jackets came in as one of the nation’s top rebounding teams, but Miami held its own in the lane. Georgia Tech managed just a 31-30 edge on the boards and got little production out of its big men, tumbling to its sixth loss in seven games. Nick Jacobs and Charles Mitchell were held to eight points apiece.
Davon Reed had 15 points for Miami, while Newton finished with 14 and Kamari Murphy chipped in 10. The Hurricanes connected on 15 of 21 at the free throw line, making all but two of 14 attempts in the second half.
McClellan kept up his trend of getting stronger as the game goes on, scoring 13 points over the final 20 minutes.
McClellan is Miami’s undisputed leader, but he sure doesn’t act like it.
The senior guard took only nine shots, fewer than two of his teammates. He made seven.
”He just doesn’t know how good he is,” Larranaga said. ”If I shot as well as him, I’d take 20 shots.”
Georgia Tech went more than 21 minutes without getting a basket from any of its post players.
After Mitchell made a jumper with 5:24 remaining in the first half, the big men were shut down until Ben Lammers banked in a shot with 3:53 left in the game.
Jacobs took only one shot in the second half. It missed.
Mitchell was kicking himself for managing only two rebounds.
”That’s terrible,” he said.
Miami: McClellan came into the game ranked eighth nationally in shooting percentage (.527) among guards, and he improved on that with his 7-of-9 performance. … The Hurricanes moved to 12-8 in their series against Georgia Tech and 5-2 under Larranaga. … Point guard Angel Rodriguez has 23 assists and just three turnovers over the past three games.
Georgia Tech: Dropped to 1-5 against ranked teams this season. … Made only 9 of 16 free throws, including a crucial miss by Tadric Jackson on the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:07 remaining. … The Yellow Jackets had been outrebounding their opponents by an average of 7.6 per game, ranking third in the ACC. … Adam Smith scored 14 points and Jackson added 13.
Miami hosts Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Georgia Tech hosts Wake Forest on Wednesday.