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Courtside Blog: UM 96, Duke 95 (F)

The frantic finish is over. Duke is done making three-pointers. And the Hurricanes have the big victory coach Frank Haith was looking for. Perhaps, not only for this 2008 season and his team's NCAA tournament hopes -- but the kind you can brag to potential program-changing recruits about.

The ending wasn't pretty. Miami nearly let a 20-point lead with 13:36 remaining slip through its fingers. How mad would Hurricanes fans be today if Duke had come back to win Wednesday? But as it turned out, Jack McClinton's free throws with 1.6 seconds left was just enough cushion to get the Canes past the country's fifth-ranked men's basketball team.

"We knew the first five minutes of the second half were going to be key," Haith said. "Duke traditionally -- that's what they do. The first five minutes of both halfs, they really get after you. I told the team be prepared for them to get after us. I thought we handled that part of the second half really well. We attacked them."

How special was the win for the Canes? At UM, beating a team ranked in the top five has only happened three times. Once under Leonard Hamilton in 1999 when the Canes went on the road to beat second-ranked UConn and went on to finish 23-7 and make the NCAA Tournament. And way back in 1962, when Rick Barry was still playing here. The Canes knocked off No. 2 Duke then and then went on to finish 23-5 and reach the second round of the NIT tournament.

There's no question the Hurricanes benefitted from being on their home court and having a loud, supportive crowd behind it -- even though it wasn't a sellout (the boxscore says the BankUnited Center fell 330 fans short of its 7,000-seat capacity). At Duke earlier this year (where sellouts are tradition), Miami buckled under the Blue Devils loud crowd and home-cooking (The Canes were whistled for a season-high 31 fouls). Wednesday, all of that was on UM's side (Duke outfouled UM 25-24). And it made the difference. At times during the game -- especially during Miami's big 18-5 run in the second half -- I felt like I was inside the Orange Bowl for an FSU game it was so loud. For a night anyway, you felt like this might be a preview of the future. A glimpse if you will of the team and the homecourt advantage Haith says he believes the Canes can have down the road.

"When we took the job four years ago we knew the opportunity would come where you would have a Haithtop five team come play on your court," Haith said. "The atmopshere we had out there tonight was terrific. When we took the job we envisioned that was something that could happen. So, it was special to see that and special for these guys that are here on our team now to have that feeling. But we can't stop. We're still trying to build our resumé to make the NCAA tournament. There's no question this helps. But we got another big one on Saturday."

As I drove home from the stadium, I heard fans chirping on WQAM about the big-game Dwayne Collins had and how they're disappointed they hadn't seen more from Collins this season. Collins certainly had a special game -- he was 12-of-14 from the floor for a career-high 26 points. His reverse, finger-roll layups right before the half and right after the half were big time. But Canes fans have to realize Collins wasn't the only hero. Jack McClinton had 22 points -- including 17 in the second half. Brian Asbury had 12 of his 15 in the first half and helped set the tone for the Canes early with some big shots.

More than anything, Canes fans should be excited about the fact McClinton finally got the support he needed -- from someone. Usually, it's McClinton who has to do all the heroics. Wednesday, he had a supporting cast. Haith said last week he likes the fact he has a cast of characters who can play the role of No. 2 on any given night. Truth is, Collins is likely the best available guy to fill that role. He's got the best offensive skill set of any of UM's big men, not to mention the most athleticism. That's part of the reason Haith was hard on him -- even after Miami's best win under his tenure.

"Dwayne was outstanding," Haith said. "But Dwayne will tell you had one he should have dunked and he missed the layup... But he played like I think Dwayne is capable of playing. Now, we want him to go after it and have another performance like that. But he was outstanding. He was aggressive, he was attacking the rim. That's the post presence we've been wanting. That's the Dwayne we've been wanting."

Lance_hurdleMiami has five games left on its regular season schedule. It needs to win three of them to finish 8-8 in the conference (the mark Haith said last month he thought his team needed to reach to make a strong case for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid). They've got Maryland (17-10, 7-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday, a trip to Clemson (19-7, 7-5) on Wednesday night, back-to-back home games against Virginia (12-12, 2-9) on March 1 and Boston College (13-11, 4-7) on March 5th, before a regular season-ending trip to Florida State (15-12, 4-8) on March 8th. Regardless of their opponents records, finishing 3-2 won't be easy. Clemson and Maryland have both lost to the Canes recently and will be looking for payback against UM. Boston College has won 13 consecutive games in the series against the Canes. And FSU already beat UM earlier this year.

But after Wednesday, I'm sure the UM basketball bandwagon -- which piled up plenty of followers when the Canes were 12-0 -- will be all filled up again and believing Miami can at least finish 3-2. The question is, are you one of them?

Comments

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Manny!

I was looking forward to meeting you at the GTech game this weekend. Too bad you couldn't make the trip up!

Manny it is sad that it's not sold out tonite!

Are you confident that this BB team will be better next year with experience and our
2008 recruting class?

Q: I was looking forward to meeting you at the GTech game this weekend. Too bad you couldn't make the trip up! Posted by: VivCane | February 20, 2008 at 08:54 PM

A: Yeah I was upset The Herald cut the trip out. They're trying to save some money for The Olympics later this year. I will be going to Charlotte for the ACC Tournament and anywhere else UM goes after that.

If Miami is going to win tonight we need the big men to step up!

hey manny navarro, how'd your blog do in december & january?

Q: Manny it is sad that it's not sold out tonite! Are you confident that this BB team will be better next year with experience and our 2008 recruting class? Posted by: Montreal-Cane | February 20, 2008 at 08:57 PM

A: Absolutely. DeQuan Jones is going to be a huge addition to this team. And if Cyrus McGowan and Julian Gamble are as good as Frank Haith believes I think this team is definitely better than this season. Remember Jack McClinton will be back.

Q: hey manny navarro, how'd your blog do in december & january? Posted by: green | February 20, 2008 at 09:07 PM

A: No. 2 on The Herald's website behind Dolphins in Depth. Although, the week of National Signing Day alone we drew over 100,000 page views -- more than any other weekly total.

EDDIE RIOS!

december & january hits?
what about Dave Barry's blog?

Q: what about Dave Barry's blog? Posted by: green | February 20, 2008 at 09:22 PM

A: I don't even count Dave Barry. He's always No. 1. I don't have the numbers in front of me now. I deleted the email with the numbers. I'll try and find out though.

Did Duke really send someone to the scorer's table to complain about OUR fans?

What were our fans chanting that the commentators were whining about?

Q: Did Duke really send someone to the scorer's table to complain about OUR fans? Posted by: Canesman | February 20, 2008 at 09:33 PM

A: I don't know if they did. But the Canes student section was shouting (Expletive) Paulus!

Like Cameron Indoor isnt worse....please Duke is a bunch of babies!

Manny I cant take it, is that place going nuts or what!

Now I know that this is the bb blog (and they are playing great right now I might add) but I was wondering what are some real expectations for the upcoming football season since we have in-experience in some key spots? thanks manny

Yaaaaaaaaah!!! This is what we've all been waiting for a big nite in the big dish packed and U know our boys are there gettin pumped for spring and rootin for hoops. These are the nites when people are watching, these are the times you pray we pull one off for the sake of recruiting and takin this thing to the next level. We need the second half. Hats off to Paul Dee., the Prez n everyone else who made the ACC and the on campus arena happen. How bout another 1.4 BILLION! I LOVE THE U

CAN YOU FEEL IT, COME ON MIAMI HANG IN THERE AND KEEP IT GOING, "POUR IT ON" NO QUIT

http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/021808aaa.html
how much do I HATE sunsportsTV ...
let me count the ways ...
the anti-UM network restricts monumental U v. duke to South Florida ...
because FSN FL televises some F'in gaturd game statewide ...
mad as hell ... not gonna take it anymore ...
and neither should U ...
SECOND-CLASS

Liking the results listening over in Everett, WA via 560 online. FYI ESPN360 blows tonight. Lllllllllaggggggg. So doing the radio thing. GO Canes, close it out boys and build on it.

Oh yeah, thanks for the blog Manny and I hope you're thoroughly enjoying your evening.

Manny, Don't have the game on tv, did we sellout. Even if not, those who did show up seem to be makeing ALOT of noise.

making

ROLL CANES!!

AM I DREAMING? hang in there Miami, we can do it!

WOW, are we about to beat the Dukies!??!?!?

Geez,

Just like that the lead is cut to 7.

Would love to have a couple of Big Mac Jack 3s here.

Have we ever beat the Dukies????????????

AHHHHHHHH COME ON MIAMI FIGHT

billy: no

What was the line by Team USA Hockey coach Herb Brooks, "You lose this game and you will remember it for the rest of your F*cking lives"

Think Haith is telling the boys that right now?

Manny,

please ask Haith about clock management after the game...

Go Canes, pull this sh*t out!!

why is Hicks handling the ball?

Hey Manny did Rick Ross show up or something tonight?

c'mon boys put these f*ckers down!!!

Last time we beat Duke when they were a top 5 ranked team was 1962.

correction: U beat duke 71-69 in 1962

Do they have the horses there to keep the fans of the court??? LOL

I don't care if by 20 or 1 the Canes have just beat Duke!

WOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

YESSSSSSS

Back in the tournament talk, now build on it damn't and beat the FSUs and BCs of the conference

wow! What a great moment!!

Go Canes!!!

Stupidest Cheer around Overrated. What exactly does that say? You can beat an overrated team; congratulations!

I'll never understand why this one gets yelled so often when the "underdog" wins.

HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE WINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!

it's GREAT to be a Miami Hurricane!

Da U!! Where's Rick Ross? Thank you Miami and Haith. I hate Duke!! Go Canes!! Beat em in football and basketball. Own them!!

BALL GAME!!!!!! Go Canes!!!!!!!

Stupidest Cheer around Overrated. What exactly does that say? You can beat an overrated team; congratulations!

I'll never understand why this one gets yelled so often when the "underdog" wins.

Posted by: Russell | February 20, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Couldn't agree more

Signature win for Haith and the Canes!!!!

Many more to come...............

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