It was senior day at the BankUnited Center Saturday and the Miami Hurricanes sent their six seniors out with a bang, defeating Wake Forest 69-56 to finish the season above .500.
Garrius Adams led three seniors in double figures, scoring a career-high 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Rion Brown finished his season off with 19 and Erik Swoope added 10 in one of Miami’s best games of the season.
“I thought it would be a lot more emotional but I pretty much approached it like if it was another home game,” Brown said of senior day. “I think that helped because it didn't add any pressure to ourselves. We just went out there and played basketball. We wanted to get a win.”
After trailing by five early on Miami (16-15, 7-11) stormed on a 14-0 run to build a 23-14 lead it never relinquished. Manu Lecomte and Davon Reed hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Miami its first lead at 15-14 with 8:20 remaining while Adams and Brown added two more from downtown during the run for the Hurricanes.
“I thought our defense was good, we got a bunch of stops,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said of the run. “A couple of turnovers led to easy baskets and it got our guys energized.
Miami’s defense held Wake Forest (16-15, 6-12) scoreless for more than six minutes during the stretch before forward Tyler Cavanaugh finally stopped the bleeding with a layup at the 4:20 mark. The Demon Deacons went on a late 7-0 run to cut Miami’s lead to four before Adams hit a runner with four seconds left to put the Hurricanes up 29-23 at halftime.
Wake Forest forward Arnaud-William Adala Moto made a jumper to open the half to cut Miami’s lead back to four but the Demon Deacons never crept closer the rest of the game. The Hurricanes went on a 12-0 from there that was capped off with a jumper by Brown with 13:03 remaining that gave Miami a 41-25 lead.
The Demon Deacons attempted to make multiple runs at the lead but the Hurricanes continually had an answer. Aaron Roundtree’s dunk with 10:36 left pulled Wake Forest to within 45-35 but Brown responded right back with his second 3-pointer of the day. That propelled Miami on an 11-2 run to take a 56-37 lead and put the game away for good.
“We were able to build up a nice lead and then hold them off,” Larrañaga said. “It's nice to end up winning our last three home games after struggling at home for much of the season.”
The win moved Miami ahead of Wake Forest and clinched the tenth seed in the ACC Tournament, which begins next Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina. Miami will face 15 seed Virginia Tech, which defeated the Hurricanes in both meetings this season.