A three-point road loss at No. 3 Duke was certainly disappointing for the Miami Hurricanes, but had little effect on their national ranking.
The Canes slipped one spot, from No. 5 to No. 6, in the Associated Press poll released Monday. They remained No. 7 in the USA Today coaches’ poll with a 23-5 overall record and atop the Atlantic Coast conference standings with a 14-2 league record.
Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, followed by Indiana and Duke. UM has a chance to clinch the ACC regular-season title Wednesday with a home win over Georgia Tech.
“The mood was a little somber after the Duke game,” UM coach Jim Larranaga said. “But these kids are resilient. They watch a lot of basketball, and they know we have a lot of basketball ahead of us.”
Guard Rion Brown, whose three-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the rim, said his mind is already on Georgia Tech, against whom he scored a career-high 22 points earlier this season. Brown’s father, Tico, starred for the Yellow Jackets, so this matchup is always special for him.
“Coach L always says we have to move past it, win or lose, look ahead to the next game,” Brown said.
Larranaga said he found the Duke game “very entertaining,” was proud of his team, and continued to praise the Blue Devils’ Ryan Kelly, who scored a career-high 36 points coming off a two-month injury layoff.
“We expected [Kelly] to play well, get 12 points, not 36,” he said. “That was remarkable. You really got to give a young man credit. He was very highly motivated having sat on the sidelines so long watching his teammates work so hard to maintain their status. He was hungry.”
As for the final possession, Larranaga said he maybe should have called a timeout, but he had no other regrets.
“You always relive the last few plays,” he said. “We had one timeout, were down three. One of the things you like to be able to do is call a play and have a timeout so you can stop the clock if you need to. I wasn’t sure if we would go for two or three. I left it in [Shane Larkin’s] hands. He got a terrific look. It rimmed short, Durand [Scott] got it, and I probably should have called a timeout right then and there.
“But he found Rion and you’re probably not going to get a much better look than that. I’m not disappointed in the last possession. I just thought we needed to defend a little better.’’