CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Hurricanes squandered a lead of 16-0, so they built an even bigger one — and nearly blew that.
Kameron McGusty scored 19 points and freshman Harlond Beverly came to the rescue off the bench as Miami withstood a late rally by streaky Pittsburgh and won 66-58 Sunday night.
The Panthers had scoring runs of 18-2 in the first half and 17-3 in the second half but never led. After falling behind 46-26 with 14 minutes left they cut the deficit to 51-47, but Miami let them get no closer.
“It was about being poised and calm, and understanding we’ve got a lead, so let’s take smart shots and play hard defense,” McGusty said. “It was a real fun game to play in.”
The Hurricanes (10-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Pittsburgh for the seventh time in a row. The Panthers (11-5, 2-3) failed to build on their victory Wednesday at North Carolina, which ended a 22-game road losing streak in the ACC.
“It was a disappointing loss for us,” coach Jeff Capel said. “We had an amazing opportunity coming off a big win, and we didn’t have the maturity level necessary as a group to move on to the next play. Until we learn that in our program, we won’t become the consistently good program we’re striving to become.”
Hurricanes point guard Chris Lykes, their leading scorer this season, scored 12 points but fouled out with eight minutes remaining. That left Beverly to run the offense.
“I was so mad at him in the first half,” coach Jim Larranaga said, “because we called a play and he didn’t run it, and turned it over instead. Had Chris Lykes not gotten in foul trouble, there’s a very good chance he doesn’t get back into the game. Then he goes out there and plays like a veteran.”
Beverly finished with six points, five assists and two blocked shots. Twice he fed Sam Waardenburg for big baskets down the stretch.
“Coach was already unhappy, so I couldn’t play any worse,” Beverly said. “I just went in there and tried to play my best, didn’t force anything and I feel like I did a good job.”
Waardenburg finished with 10 rebounds. DJ Vasiljevic scored 13 points for the Hurricanes, who shot 52 percent.