There are wins and there are Wins, with a capital “W.’’
When you bounce back from a 25-point loss and two days later beat the No. 3 team in the nation on ESPN in front of a packed arena, that’s a Win. That is what the 12th-ranked University of Miami did on Monday night, stunning Virginia 64-61.
UM guard Davon Reed led the Canes with a career-high 21 points, and was nearly perfect from long range, hitting five of his six three-point attempts. The BankUnited Center crowd of 7,016 roared louder with each of Reed’s threes.
Sheldon McClellan, playing on a sprained ankle, added 11 points and Kamari Murphy grabbed 11 rebounds.
“Just happened to be the night for me, the shots were falling,” said Reed. “We all knew what was at stake. I think we responded.”
The Hurricanes had been humiliated at North Carolina on Saturday, and dropped one spot in the AP rankings. Virginia had jumped from No. 7 to No. 3, making an already-anticipated matchup even more scintillating. The teams entered the game with identical records and the No. 2 spot in the ACC rankings on the line.
With the victory, Miami (22-5, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) took over sole possession of second place in the ACC heading into Saturday’s home game against No. 11 Louisville.
“I told our players everybody gets knocked down sometimes, but what matters is how you respond,’’ said UM coach Jim Larrañaga. “We got knocked down big time on Saturday, and you’ve got to get back up and show what you’re made of. We did that, against a Virginia team ranked No.3 in the country.’’
The Hurricanes overcame Malcolm Brogdon, who matched his career high, scoring 28 points for Virginia on 12-of-18 shooting. Trailing by two with just over 20 seconds to go, Brogdon was in position to give the Cavs the lead, but his three-point try clanked off the front of the rim and into the hands of UM’s Ja’Quan Newton, playing on a sore shin.
Brogdon fouled Newton, who made one free throw to put UM up 62-59. Virginia’s London Perrantes made a layup with four seconds left to close it to 62-61. Reed was immediately fouled and made a pair of free throws to seal the win.
“Davon is such a terrific competitor, a great leader, very intelligent, and very skilled,’’ said Larrañaga. “What I liked so much about his game is he looked so calm.’’
The Cavs dropped to 21-6, 10-5 ACC. They had won their past three games against the Canes, including a 66-58 win on Jan. 12.
“As good as Malcolm Brogdon showed what a great player he is, our players showed what winners they are,” said Larrañaga.
Cavs coach Tony Bennett said: “When you get beat like they did, they were going to be awake, we knew that. Resilient young men. Well-coached team. They made it hard for us.”
KELLY ON RICHT
Watching the game from Suite 9 was UM quarterback legend Jim Kelly, who was surrounded by several former Hurricanes teammates, including new Miami football coach Mark Richt and Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak.
Kelly received a rousing ovation when he was introduced midcourt at halftime. He thanked fans for their prayers when he was battling cancer and dealing with the illness and death of his son, Hunter.
“I got like six of my former teammates here, it’s just awesome,’’ Kelly said. “This is my family and UM will always be my home. I am so excited about the direction we are going with Mark Richt leading the charge now. You can’t ask for anything better…He brings character to the organization, commitment to recruiting. There is a lot of competition out there with recruiting now, more than just Florida and Florida State.
“I think the good Lord that Howard Schnellenberger came up to me before that Penn State game and told me I was going to be the quarterback that day because if not, he might be in my shoes and I might be in his. He was that good of a quarterback, and I was just lucky.”