When last checking in on Miami basketball, the Canes unraveled at home against a talented Duke squad—blowing a 13-point lead, outscored 30-9 over the game’s final eight minutes.

Challenged to bounce back and get up for a road trip to Raleigh days later, Miami took care of business at North Carolina State against a Wolfpack squad that had taken down the likes of the Blue Devils and Clemson Tigers at home this season.

Miami shot 57.6-percent from the field in an 86-81 victory, while Bruce Brown led the Canes with 19 points and nine assists. Brown got some much-needed support in the win as Ebuka Izundu shot 7-of-7 from the field for a season-high 15 points. Anthony Lawrence as good for 15, a well—while on-the-rise Lonnie Walker was good for 12.

The Canes got out to a fast start against the Wolfpack, hitting eight of their first 12 shots and pushing the lead to nine halfway through the first half. North Carolina State responded, tying the game late in the half, but Miami took a four-point lead into the locker room and came out strong for the game’s final 20 minutes.

The lead grew to 12 with 6:11 remaining—but a 7-0 run by the feisty Wolfpack made it a five-point game—which twice became a three-point game in the final minutes before Brown found Damon Huell for an exclamation point-style dunk that all but sealed the victory.

Back home on Wednesday for a home showdown against Louisville, the Canes won an overtime thriller made possible by a highlight reel-style lay-up from Walker, tying the game in the final seconds—extending what was already a back-and-forth battle.

Cold early, Miami trailed by five—down 13-8 almost eight minutes into the game—before going on an 11-point run where Walker was credited with an assist, hit a key upper and knocked down a big three-pointer in just under a minute-and-a-half of play.

Louisville seized momentum early in the second half, after closing the first on a 14-9 run that had them leading by one at intermission. Miami trailed by four with just under 14 minutes remaining. From there, the Canes and Cards traded blows for the rest of the half—keeping a one-score game the rest of the way.

Miami briefly took a 65-62 lead with 3:42 after a pair of Ja’Quan Newton lay-ups—though Newton’s goodwill would be soon forgotten over the next 3:42 by way of some ill-advised shots, a turnover and foul that kept momentum with Louisville, extending the Cards’ lead to three with :59 remaining.

Brown’s lay-up brought the Canes to within one, but a foul sent Anas Mahmoud to the line where the forward went 1-of-2 from the line. Huell’s rebound with :13 on the clock put Miami in position where two would tie and three would win—which was when Walker went to work, taking the in-bound pass, driving left, switching the ball to his right mid-air and rolling in an off-the-glass lay-up to tie things up with :04 remaining.

Both squads were off the first two minutes of a scoreless overtime before a foul on Brown set Quentin Snider to the line where a pair of free throws pushed the lead to 71-69. The Canes’ drought would continue until the 1:17 mark where a Brown dunk—on a Walker assist—tied the game.

Huell extends the lead with a dunk of his own at the :41 mark, while a Brown block on Deng Adel resulted in a rebound by Larwrence. Brown made his way to the line making one of two, while Newton did the same on the next possession—pushing the Miami lead to four.

A mental error from Newton sent Ryan McMahon to the line, taking no time off the clock, allowing the Cards to pull within two with :11 remaining and after two missed free throws from Brown, Louisville was in position to steal the win before Walker’s brilliant block on a three-point attempt from McMahon. A Newton rebound and free throw sealed it as time expired.

The two-game win streak would come to an end over the weekend in Tallahassee, unfortunately as Miami fell in overtime to Florida State, 103-94. Equally as disheartening; the fact the Canes dropped a school record 17 three-pointers in the contest—Miami relying heavily on the three-ball in the second half after the Seminole switched to a zone defense.

To Florida State’s credit, the home team did their part offensively, shooting a season-high 60-percent from the field and having six players score 13 points, or more. The Noles also committed a season-low seven turnovers with only one—a shot-clock violation—over the final 37:25.

Walker led the Canes with 23 points on the day, while Lawrence dropped 19 and Brown a serviceable 13. Dejan Vasiljevic did his part off the bench, scoring 20 and knocking down six three-pointers.

The Canes trailed by six at the 5:18 mark in the second half, but a three-pointer from Walker stopped the bleeding. Minutes later another three from Vasiljevic pulled the Canes to within two, with both sides trading blows down the stretch.

Walker hit a pair of free throw, matching two made by Florida State’s CJ Walker two possessions earlier—while a Brown lay-up helped Miami trade blows. A Huell dunk with 1:03 remaining tied the game, 83-83—the Canes unable to put it away in regulation despite the Seminoles not scoring over the final 2:03 in regulation.

Come overtime, a completely different story as Florida State scored opened with a 7-0 run in under two minutes that Miami was unable to recover from. Vaslijevic missed a three-pointer to open the extra period, while Huell missed a jumper and turned it over after an offensive rebound. Walker went cold, too missing his three-point attempt at the 3:35 mark—with Miami not getting on the board until Lawrence dropped a three-ball at the 3:06 mark, making it a four-point game.

Huell missed a dunk a possession later, as did Brown after the Noles hit a free throw, pushing the lead to seven. Clutch free throw shooting closed things out for the home team, as Florida State went 6-of-6 over the final :21 in their eventual nine-point win.

As if the loss to a hated rival wasn’t enough, the Canes found out days later that Brown will have foot surgery this Thursday and will be out for at least six weeks—which puts the sophomore guard out through the rest of the regular season and the ACC Tournament, though Brown is optimistic he’ll return before the post season.

Next up for the Brown-less Canes; a Wednesday night home showdown against a struggling Pittsburgh squad. Miami is 7-1 at home on the season—looking to feed off the friendly confines of the Watsco Center and a sub-par conference foe—as it gets used to life without BB.

From there, a Saturday showdown at Virginia Tech before taking on Wake Forest at home next Wednesday.

The Canes travel to Boston College next weekend and will then prep for the season’s biggest game when second-ranked Virginia rolls into Coral Gables on February 13th. Syracuse, a road trip to Notre Dame, Boston College, North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech will close out the regular season.

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