MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes lived dangerously for the second straight game, but still managed to hold on just long enough to secure its 13th straight Atlantic Coast Conference victory Tuesday with a 54-50 win over Virginia.
The victory came just one day after the Canes reached the highest ranking in school history, number two in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25.
For a while in Tuesday’s game, UM looked like it could be the victim of an upset at the hands of the ACC’s toughest defensive teams. Virginia actually tied the game at 50 with just 14.3 second left in the second half.
UM’s senior laden team didn’t panic and after working the ball around the court, point guard Shane Larkin found a wide-open Reggie Johnson who dunked the ball to give UM a 52-50 lead with just second to go in the game.
Then in a play that harkened back to James Worthy at North Carolina in 1982, Virginia inbounded the ball right to the Canes’ Durand Scott and after a couple of free throws, Miami had sealed the victory over the very game Cavaliers team.
But, the Canes have been living dangerously the last few games after securing several blow out victories over Duke, North Carolina, and Florida State. Miami has won the last two games by a combined six points which is likely giving Canes fans some big-time indigestion.
However, the victory over Clemson and Virginia came against two of the top defenses in the conference and the victory over the Tigers came at Clemson in a game where UM scored just 18 points in the first half.
Call it winning ugly, but that’s what championship-caliber teams have to do sometimes.
The victory Tuesday pushed UM’s record to 22-3 (13-0 in ACC play). The Canes have won 14 straight game sand haven’t lost since Christmas night in Hawaii against the Indiana State Sycamores.
The 13-0 start is the longest to start conference play in the ACC since the Virginia Cavaliers did it with Ralph Sampson was manning the middle in the early 1980′s.
Miami will head on the road this weekend to play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina before returning home to face Virginia Tech on February 27.
Then on March 2 comes the final hurdle for UM in the regular season, a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face the Duke Blue Devils and the Cameron Crazies. A victory at Duke could be enough to push UM to number one in the country if it wins against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.