Miami’s Shane Larkin came through for his team when they needed him to. His go-ahead 3-pointer sealed the deal for Miami making them the third team from the state of Florida (Florida, Florida Gulf Coast) advancing to the Sweet 16.
The Hurricanes win over Illinois, 63-59, on Sunday night marks just the second time in program history that Miami has made an appearance in the Sweet 16.
The No. 2 seeded Hurricanes will play Marquette on Thursday night in Washington D.C.
Both Miami and Illinois proved that they live by the deep ball, but both struggled from downtown. The Hurricanes shot 36%, going 9-for-25 from 3-point range. The Fighting Illini shot just 25% going 7-for-27.
The game wouldn’t end without a controversial call. Following Larkin’s step-back three, D.J. Richardson missed a late 3-point attempt for Illinois and as both teams fought for the rebound, it appeared as if the ball bounced off of Miami’s Kenny Kadji as it went out of bounds. The Hurricanes were given possession of the ball in which Durand Scott made two late free throws.
Following Miami’s win, Kadji told ESPN:
I mean, I don’t know. It was so many hands, you know. I don’t know who touched it last. Everybody was getting out there and there was a couple of hands. So I really don’t know.”
Brandon Paul scored 18 points and added four rebounds for Illinois who felt that they were duped following Richardsons’ missed three.
Again, from ESPN, Fighting Illini head coach John Groce said:
You saw the same video I did…hard game to officiate…50-50 calls are hard sometimes.”
Whatever the case may be, the Hurricanes will continue their storybook season playing in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000.