But from behind he heard a voice. Tossing the pass off glass to the high-flying Kenny Kadji was what brought the BankUnited Center past a rolling boil. The dunk counted for just two points in a game long since decided, but it said a little more about where this is headed.
There was a savagery to No. 8 Miami’s 87-61 deconstruction of North Carolina in Coral Gables, Fla. It was the 11th straight Miami win that could vault this program to its first top-5 ranking.
Paired with the 90-63 win over Duke on Jan. 23, Miami became the first team in the Atlantic Coach Conference’s 60-year history to beat the Blue Devils and Tar Heels by 25-plus points in the same season.
It wasn’t close after the opening moments. Miami (19-3 overall, 10-0 ACC) led by as many as 28. But that alley-oop that put the Hurricanes up 26 with 7:30 to play even brought a few NBA stars to their feet. The Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Miami alum James Jones ate it up from their courtside seats.
The real work, however, was done at the 3-point line.
A week after going 3-for-21 in a win at N.C. State, Miami made 15 of 26 from the perimeter to tie a school record and build the lead. Led by Larkin’s 18 points, including five 3-pointers, the starters accounted for 13-of-19 shooting from 3-point range. In one span of 15 made field goals, 12 were 3s. Twice Miami rattled off five without missing from behind the arc.
“People talk a lot about their experience and how old they are,” a sullen UNC coach Roy Williams said. “But they’re also talented. So I think they’re really, really good.”
Miami held the ACC’s top scoring team 18 points below its season average. It also finished with a 38-29 rebounding average on the Tar Heels (16-7, 6-4).
At Wisconsin 65, No. 3 Michigan 62 (OT): Ben Brust hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with less than 40 seconds to go in overtime as the Badgers surprised the Wolverines. Brust’s shot at the end of regulation was even bigger for Wisconsin (17-7, 8-3 Big Ten) and a soul crusher for Michigan (21-3, 8-3). Just moments earlier, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a contested 3-pointer to put the Wolverines up 60-57 with less than 3 seconds to go. After a timeout, Brust received the inbounds pass, took one dribble across halfcourt and launched a shot that hit nothing but net.
At Oklahoma 72, No. 5 Kansas 66: Romero Osby scored 17 points, Steven Pledger added 15, and the Sooners handed the Jayhawks their first three-game losing streak in eight years. Oklahoma (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) snapped a 10-game skid against KU (19-4, 7-3).
No. 23 Pittsburgh 62, at No. 17 Cincinnati 52: Tray Woodall scored 14 points and hit two free throws and a 3-pointer during a 7-0 run that put the Panthers (20-5, 8-4 Big East) ahead to stay with 3:21 to play in a victory over the Bearcats (18-6, 6-5).
At No. 13 Kansas State 79, Iowa State 70: Rodney McGruder scored 22 points, and Angel Rodriguez added 20 as the Wildcats (19-4, 8-2 Big 12) knocked off the Cyclones (16-7, 6-4) to take sole possession of first place in the conference.
No. 12 Michigan State 78 at Purdue 65: Branden Dawson scored 20 points, and Keith Appling added 17, leading the Spartans (20-4, 9-2 Big Ten) past the Boilermakers (12-12, 5-6). Michigan State will have at least a share of the league lead regardless of what happens today when No. 1 Indiana visits No. 10 Ohio State.
No. 14 Butler 59, at George Washington 56: Rotnei Clark scored 14 points, and the Bulldogs (20-4, 7-2 Atlantic 10) nearly blew a 17-point lead, going the last 71/2 minutes without a field goal, before holding on to beat the Colonials (11-11, 5-4).
At No. 21 Missouri 98, Mississippi 79: Alex Oriakhi scored a career-high 22 points and added 18 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Tigers (17-6, 6-4 SEC) past the Rebels (18-5, 7-3).
Eastern Washington 77, at Northern Arizona 74 (OT): Parker Kelly hit an overtime-forcing 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go, and Tyler Harvey made a pair of 3s in the extra session, to help lead the Eagles (7-17, 5-9 Big Sky) past the Lumberjacks (9-15, 6-8). EWU trailed 58-40 with 7:35 to go but closed on a 26-8 run.