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Ryan Craig

A comeback takes two

Posted March 10, 2011

In every great he said-she said debate - one where both sides swear they’re right and the other is completely wrong - the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

In much the same vein, after every great sports comeback people want to hammer the once-leading team for blowing a lead or laud the side that came back for exhibiting such poise in the face of imminent defeat.

The truth is, any great comeback takes a combination of both: one team has to unravel to some degree while the other has to capitalize on that opportunity.

Thursday afternoon’s first-round ACC Tournament game between Miami and Virginia had just that – a winning, or losing depending on which team you root for, combination of ineptitude from one side and opportunism from the other.

Here is how the play-by-play looked from the final minute of Miami’s you-wouldn’t-believe-it-unless-you-saw-it, 69-62 win over Virginia Thursday, starting with the Mustapha Farrakhan free throw that put the Cavaliers up 53-43 with 42 seconds left in the game:

:42 left – Farrakhan makes free throw – UVa leads, 53-43
:34 left – Miami’s Durand Scott hits three-point shot – UVa leads, 53-46
:31 left – Virginia’s Sammy Zeglinski misses back-to-back front ends of a one-and-one
:24 left – Malcolm Grant hits a three – UVa leads, 53-49
:21 left – Zeglinski turnover in the backcourt
:19 left – Julian Gamble dunks – UVa leads, 53-51
:15 left – Virginia’s Jontel Evans turns the ball over in the backcourt
:13 left – Durand Scott makes layup – game tied at 53

Total game time necessary to make the comeback: 29 seconds

Virginia’s 10-point lead was gone in less than the time it takes to watch your favorite commercial.

Clearly, Miami was forcing the issue with full court pressure, but it’s not like Virginia executed down the stretch.

Zeglinski, a near-80% free throw shooter last season, cost his team a shot at four points by missing the front end of two one-and-one trips to the line.

Surely, Virginia was choking.

On the other hand, Miami took exactly two three-point shots during the comeback and made both.

Obviously, Miami was clutch.
Two Virginia turnovers led directly to four more Hurricanes points.

Naturally, that’s a poor job of breaking the press by the Cavaliers – or was it phenomenal inbounds and full-court press execution by Frank Haith’s Miami team?

Depending on who you talk to or which story you read, you’ll either remember this day as the one that Miami notched an improbable comeback or Virginia choked away an almost sure ACC Tournament win.

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
 

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd
PHI 40
CHA 53
 
2nd
PHI 40
CHA 53
 
2nd
ORL 33
UTA 38
 
1st
CLE 10
BRK 16
 
1st
BOS 12
MIN 13
 
1st
DET 15
TOR 8
 
1st
MIA 13
WAS 11
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
2nd
RAD 63
SIENA 52
 
Half
BUCK 38
CASEWEST 36
 
1st
LIB 51
CPNC 35
 
Half
SCAR 28
CLEM 30
 
Half
CMICH 51
CONC 28
 
1st
MIAMI 25
EKENT 25
 
Half
GWEBB 52
HIWASSEE 34
 
Half
ODU 31
MDES 26
 
1st
BUF 30
NIAG 26
 
1st
KSU 31
NCAT 25
 
Half
FAM 21
UNF 38
 
Half
NORST 38
NARZ 20
 
Half
DART 33
NILL 19
 
Half
MORE 27
NKENTUCKY 49
 
Half
UCSB 34
SDCHR 18
 
1st
STJ 13
GAELS 25
 
1st
ALA 30
STILL 16
 
Half
HAMP 29
TENST 24
 
Half
TENN 26
TENT 32
 
Half
WMARY 46
WSHMD 16
 
1st
MERC 15
COOK 5
 
1st
FLGC 12
FUR 12
 
1st
CALST 13
SDKST 15
 
8:00pm Tonight
MTST
CHAT
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
DICKINSON
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LSUALEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
MLGN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
1st Intermission
NJD 2
TAM 0
 
1st
OTT 1
ANA 0
 
1st
DET 0
NYI 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL