Virginia hands Miami semifinal loss in ACC tournament
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Miami never really gave itself a chance.
Things did not begin well for Jim Larranaga's No. 11 Hurricanes in their ACC Tournament semifinal against No. 4 Virginia, with their first possession ending with a turnover. Miami gave the ball away twice more in the first 5 minutes while falling into an early 10-point deficit.
And that pretty much was that. Unable to recover from that sloppy start, and never getting the sort of offensive production they count on from senior guards Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, Miami lost 73-68 to Virginia on Friday night.
"We were really anxious to start the game," Larranaga said. "We didn't do the things we planned on doing. We dug ourselves a quick hole."
Not only did Miami never lead all evening, but it never even managed to pull into a tie after ACC player of the year Malcolm Brogdon opened the scoring by hitting a 3-pointer for Virginia (26-6).
The Cavaliers advanced to face No. 7 UNC in the ACC final on Saturday night. North Carolina scored 24 consecutive points in one stretch and easily beat defending champion Notre Dame 78-47 in the first semifinal.
Miami (25-7), meanwhile, now gets ready for the NCAA Tournament.
"We'll see where we're seeded and who we play against and get ready for that," McClellan said. "Got a new season again."
McClellan scored 15 points, and Rodriguez had nine, a far cry from their combined 40 points in a quarterfinal victory Thursday against Virginia Tech.
Rodriguez didn't even attempt a shot in the first half against Virginia and its stingy-as-can-be defense.
"I was just getting guys involved. I didn't happen to get a shot off, but my job ... is to run the team," Rodriguez said in a quiet locker room. "Sometimes it requires shooting; sometimes it requires passing."
Ah, yes, passing. Larranaga certainly was disappointed in the way his players handled that aspect of the game.
"You don't hurry a pass to a guy that you think is open, because the pass is not as accurate. I really believe we threw some passes that were about 100 mph. It's hard to catch those. The guy is open (and) it flies through his hands," Larranaga said.
And then he ran through some examples, such as "an outlet pass that flew over a guy's head."
"Those," Larranaga pointed out, "are not plays that we've made all season long."
In all, Miami wound up with only seven assists and 16 turnovers.
As McClellan summed up: "We just tried to make plays that (weren't) there tonight."
The loud contingent of orange-wearing, "U-V-A!"-chanting fans from nearby Virginia sure made an impression on the Hurricanes.
"Definitely," Rodriguez said, "felt like a road game."
Miami: Ja'Quan Newton led Miami with 19 points. ... McClellan fouled out with 46.2 seconds left.
Virginia: Brogdon made 10 of 11 free-throw attempts. ... Virginia reached the ACC final for the sixth time in school history. ... Last won the conference tournament in 2014.
Virginia: Faces North Carolina in the ACC final Saturday.
Miami: NCAA Tournament.