Miami suffered a tough loss at home to Florida State Wednesday night in which it was outscored 12-2 in the final four minutes, leading to a disheartening ten-point loss.
The Hurricanes made sure that didn’t happen again today.
Miami’s zone defense held Georgia Tech to a season-low 29.5 percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers en route to a 56-42 victory over the Yellow Jackets Saturday afternoon in Atlanta for a much-needed confidence boost.
Freshman guard Manu Lecomte scored a career-high 16 points including eight in the final five minutes that held off any hope of a Georgia Tech comeback. Miami (10-7, 2-3) controlled the game early on and never trailed after Lecomte made a lay-up with 15:50 remaining in the first half that gave the Hurricanes a 7-5 lead.
Georgia Tech (10-8, 1-4) tied it at 7-7 on a Kammeon Holsey lay-up 24 seconds later but Donnavan Kirk made a lay-up of his own to put Miami up 9-7 that gave the Hurricanes the lead for good with 14:09 left. Kirk finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, ten of which came in the first half that helped Miami build a 27-17 lead at halftime.
Miami ended the first half on an 8-0 run and carried that momentum into the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 34-17 lead. Its defense held Georgia Tech scoreless from the 3:23 mark of the first half all the way to the 15:58 mark of the second half.
Kirk’s jumper with 11:34 remaining gave Miami a 41-23 lead before Georgia Tech rallied to within nine after two Daniel Miller free throws cut the deficit to 44-35 with 5:23 remaining. That would be as close as Georgia Tech would get though as Lecomte went on to score the next four and eight of Miami’s final 12 points to close out the Yellow Jackets.
Rion Brown, whose father played at Georgia Tech, also added 12 points and six rebounds for the Hurricanes.
Miami now heads into a crucial week in the ACC. It hosts No. 23 Duke Wednesday night and then No. 2 Syracuse Saturday afternoon. The Hurricanes nearly upset the Orange earlier this month in the Carrier Dome before ultimately falling 49-44.