No. 12 Miami got the bounce back win they needed.
Just two days after they were embarrassed by North Carolina in Chapel Hill, losing a game by 25 points that they trailed by 38 at one point, the Hurricanes headed back to Coral Gables for a date with No. 3 Virginia. And despite playing with a banged up Sheldon McClellan and JaQuan Newton, Miami pulled out a 64-61 win to move into sole possession of second place in the ACC, just a game behind the Tar Heels.
The hero was Davon Reed, a junior wing that’s averaging 10.5 points this season. He scored 21 points and hit 5-for-6 from beyond the arc for Jim Larrañaga’s club, helping to bail out Miami team on a night where their stars didn’t show up.
Angel Rodriguez is a notoriously inconsistent player, and on Monday night we got a dose of Bad Angel. He was 3-for-10 from the floor with three turnovers and just one assists. Rodriguez did hit a big jumper late and he played some impressive defensive on UVA’s London Perrantes, but the fact that Miami was able to beat a team as good as Virginia with his struggles — and with the ineffectiveness of Newton and McClellan — is unequivocally a good sign for this team.
Another positive was the play on Tonye Jekiri, who has developed into a pretty well-rounded post presence. He’s known more for his interior toughness and ability on the glass, but on Monday night he chipped in with nine points and five assists. Miami can run offense through him, which takes some pressure off of their back court to produce.
Despite the loss, Malcolm Brogdon once again showcased why he’s a favorite for National Player of the Year and trending towards the discussion for first-team All-America. He finished with 28 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the floor. In the second half, as the Cavs worked back from a 10 point deficit (at the pace UVA plays, that’s like a normal team erasing a 15 point lead) Brogdon hit his first eight shots from the floor, the only miss coming on a forced 25-footer with 20 seconds left on the clock.
Virginia drops two games off of the pace in the ACC standings with the loss.