The Hurricanes never warmed up, the Eagles kept getting points in the paint and opened a 51-30 lead to put the game away.
Nothing went right for UM. The Canes’ 1 1/2-mile bus ride to the arena took 45 minutes because of traffic snarls. Larkin spent the night with an upset stomach. Johnson was home after surgery on his knee. But the main thing is, Marquette did everything right, and Miami struggled in every facet of the game.
“We were trying to find our way and never could,” UM coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We never got in rhythm offensively or defensively. When you don’t make shots, you don’t look good, and when the other team makes shots, they look good and build up a lead. We just didn’t look like ourselves on this night.”
For Marquette (26-8), playing in a Sweet 16 was old hat. The Golden Eagles have reached the final 16 the past three years and said they were tired of stopping there.
“We could have easily let the season go downhill, but these guys are so relentless, we never gave up,” Marquette guard Vander Blue said.
After sweating through the first two games of the tournament, the Eagles put the Hurricanes away early and are headed to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003, when they were led by Heat star Dwyane Wade and coached by Tom Crean, now the coach at top-seeded Indiana. The Hoosiers played Syracuse in the late game Thursday night.
The Verizon Center is the site of the greatest triumph in Larrañaga’s career. Seven years ago, his 11th-seeded George Mason team upset top seed Connecticut here to earn a spot in the Final Four. The Canes were hoping some good karma was left in the building.