COLLEGE PARK, Md. (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes entered Tuesday night’s game against Maryland with a mission to win out the rest of the season and head to the NCAA Tournament in March.
Unfortunately for Hurricanes fans, things didn’t go exactly as planned.
The Terrapins wouldn’t go down without a fight and fought hard enough in the last minute of the game to knock off the Canes, 75-70. It was a horrible loss for Miami who had been leading heading into the final 90 seconds of the game.
The Hurricanes overcame an early 10-point deficit to take a 35-31 halftime lead, in part because of a 21-14 rebounding advantage that included seven on the offensive end.
Minutes after Maryland honored former guard Johnny Rhodes by hanging his No. 15 from the rafters at Comcast Center, the Terrapins got off to a raise-the-roof start.
“We had two turnovers that you can’t really explain,” Canes head coach Jim Larranaga said. “Guys tend to think too much toward the end of close games. They think you need to do something special; the fact of the matter is you have to do something simple.”
The Terps trailed 66-61 before rallying with a 10-0 run in the final two minutes. Miami had no answer for Maryland’s scoring punch at the end and never really had a shot at winning after two late misses allowed Maryland to take the lead.
Despite the drought, Miami kept finding its way to the foul line and held a five-point lead with 2:04 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Maryland cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 66-64 with 1:37 to go. After Miami missed twice, Maryland hit a bucket and made the free throw for a 67-66 lead with 44 seconds to play.
Durand Scott then lost the handle on the basketball and fouled out trying to get it back from Maryland, who sank two free throws for a three-point cushion.
Another Miami turnover followed, and Stoglin made two at the line to clinch it.
“It hurts,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “We were right there.”
While the sting of the loss hurts, what the Canes really did by losing to Maryland was probably submarine any chances the squad had of making it to the NCAA Tournament.
Miami will essentially have to win out their final three games to push their record to 19-10 on the season to have a legitimate shot at getting into the tournament. A solid few rounds in the ACC Tournament could help Miami’s case as well.
But with teams like Kansas State sweeping a top 5 team this season, the at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament are filling fast and Miami finds themselves squarely on the bubble with air leaving the balloon quickly.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)