Miami (Fla.) earned its first trip to the Final Four in school history with a inspired 88-81 comeback victory over Texas Sunday in the Midwest Regional Final.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half before rallying past the second-seeded Longhorns in an Elite Matchup in the NCAA men’s tournament at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
Senior guard Jordan Miller led Miami with 27 points on perfect shooting — 7-of-7 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free throw line.
Miami fell behind 64-51 with 13:30 left when Texas’ Tyrese Hunter made a jumper.
But Miami slowly worked its way back with some defense and shooting. The Hurricanes took their first lead of the half at 73-72 with 5:26 left on Norchad Omier’s three-point play.
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Miami would then pull away in the final minutes by making 13 free throws, including eight by Miller.
“No one wanted to go home,” Miller said. “We came together, we stuck together, we showed really good perseverance and the will to just get there.’’
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A year ago, the Hurricanes fell one game shy of the Final Four when they lost in the Elite Eight to Kansas, the eventual national champion.
“The fact that we had the opportunity to come back and make amends, make it right, that was what was pushing me.’’
Miami (29-7) will play No. 4 seed Connecticut in a semifinal game at the Final Four in Houston. It will be the second Final Four appearance for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, who made it in 2006 as head coach of George Mason.
This will be the first time since 1970 that there will be three first-time teams in the Final Four.
Miami’s path to the Final Four included victories over No. 12 seed Drake, No. 4 seed Indiana and No. 1 seed Houston before the Hurricanes knocked off Texas.
Texas reached the Elite Eight for only the second time since 2008 despite a tumultuous midseason coaching change. Rodney Terry took over the team on an interim basis after former head coach Chris Beard was arrested Dec. 12 on a charge of felony domestic violence.
The school fired Beard Jan. 5 before the charge was dropped, and Texas 22-8 after Terry was promoted to head coach.