March 10, 2005
Box Score |
By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON - J.R. Reynolds scored a career-high 32 points and made sure
coach Pete Gillen's coaching tenure at Virginia would last at least one more
game, leading the Cavaliers to a 66-65 victory over Miami on Thursday night in
the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Reynolds made 10 of 14 shots, including 5 of 7 3-pointers, and got virtually
no support from his teammates until a 9-4 game-closing run that broke a
five-game losing streak and put Virginia (14-14), seeded last in the
tournament, into Friday's quarterfinals against third-seeded Duke.
Devin Smith, who was 1-for-9 at the time, hit a 3-pointer with 2:26 to play
to give Virginia its first lead of the second half, 62-61. Freshman Sean
Singletary also struggled all game, but he made a tough short jumper in traffic
to push the lead to three.
However, the game was in the balance until literally the final second.
Guillermo Diaz made two free throws with 22 seconds remaining to pull Miami
within one, 66-65. Anthony King then stole an errant inbounds pass, giving the
Hurricanes the chance to set up the final shot for the win. Anthony Harris was
wide open for a 3-pointer from the left wing, but his attempt bounced off the
rim and time expired as players fought for the rebound.
Diaz scored 20 points, his 26th consecutive double-digit game, to lead Miami
(16-12), but he made just 5 of 15 shots. The Hurricanes shot 31 percent from
the field and made just one field goal in the game's final 10 minutes.
Miami, picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll,
entered its first ACC tournament as the No. 6 seed in Frank Haith's first
season as a head coach, but the loss probably ends any hope of receiving an
at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes have lost five of their
Gillen improved to 2-7 in the ACC tournament, and his only other victory
came in last year's play-in game. His future has come into question during a
slide from a 10-1 start that had the team ranked in the Top 25 on Dec. 27.
Gillen shook up his lineup, giving freshman center Tunji Soroye his first
start of the season while bringing Reynolds and Elton Brown off the bench.
Reynolds turned out to be the only consistent offensive threat, making 10 of
the team's 22 field goals and becoming the first Virginia player to score 30
points in an ACC tournament game since 1995.
With expansion to 11 teams, the ACC no longer has a true play-in game, but
this contest had a play-in feel as both teams struggled to score. The
Hurricanes got eight of their first 12 points on putbacks off offensive
rebounds and didn't score a point outside the paint until Harris' 3-pointer
with 6:24 to go in the half.
A 10-0 run helped Miami take a 34-30 halftime lead. The Hurricanes kept
Virginia at arm's length for much of the second half but never could get the
lead to double digits. Miami relied on free throws for all but two of its
points over the final 10 minutes, allowing Virginia to rally for the win.