Another top-10 opponent, another thrilling effort by the Jekyll and Hyde University of Miami men’s basketball team, which has made a habit of beating — or at least scaring — ranked teams but losing to less-glamorous opponents.
Davon Reed had a near-perfect night, tied a career-high with 19 points and helped get the Hurricanes to within three late in the game, but ninth-ranked Louisville answered every UM surge and went home with a 63-55 victory.
It was the third loss in a week for Miami, which slipped to 14-8 and 4-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“We’re on a roller coaster,” UM coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We have some ups, some downs. We’ve lost three games in a week, so we’re a little down. The ACC is a league that’s very unforgiving. You can’t be down for long or other teams will pound you. We need to bounce back and play well against Clemson [at home on Sunday].”
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UM students received an automated call from Larrañaga on Monday urging them to be at the BankUnited Center for Tuesday night’s game.
The Hurricanes were eager to bounce back after squandering a 16-point lead at Florida State and hoping to feed off crowd energy in a building that is too often half empty.
The students showed up in large numbers. The arena was nearly full for a change with a crowd of 6,563, and the decibel level was ear-piercing when Reed drained three three-pointers in a row to shrink Louisville’s lead to four with 12:42 remaining.
Reed made his first seven shots and missed just one all night. He also had five rebounds. But he said it meant “absolutely nothing” because the Canes lost. UM’s shooting woes continued. Late in the first half, the Cards were shooting 73 percent and UM 21 percent.
Nobody is having a more up-and-down season than fiery UM point guard Angel Rodriguez. He made a couple of key baskets in the closing minutes but remained mired in a slump. He was 2 for 9 (0 for 3 from three-point range) with only one assist and two turnovers. Over the past six games, Rodriguez is 10 of 57.
This is the same guy who scored 24 at Florida, 25 against No.2 Virginia and 24 against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Larrañaga gave Rodriguez an earful after his fourth foul, and he planned to meet with him after the game for a longer talk.
The coach praised Reed and center Tonye Jekiri, who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. But he was clearly frustrated with Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, the two transfers who carried the UM offense earlier in the season.
“We needed Angel and Sheldon to have big-time games,” Larrañaga said. “Against teams like this, you rely on your leading scorer and second-leading scorer. They were a combined 4 for 14 and 0 for 4 from three. I’m going to be talking to [Angel] as soon as this press conference is over. Sheldon was very uncertain. He had chances to drive and passed up on them.”
Terry Rozier led Louisville with 22 points. Montrezl Harrell had 18 points and nine rebounds. Chris Jones added 16 with eight rebounds, five assists and six steals.
Louisville improved to 19-3, 7-2 ACC.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino was complimentary of Miami afterward: “Jim is one of the premier coaches in the game. You saw what they did to Florida, Syracuse, Duke. They have a great résumé.”