Canes making history in ACC action
Also: Iowa derails No. 1; Caltech finally breaks into win column
The Atlantic Coast Conference has a rich men’s basketball tradition, but the league’s storied history has rarely included Miami (Fla.)… until now.
The Hurricanes are 8-0 in the ACC with victories against then-No. 1 Duke and North Carolina, as well as their latest triumph – a 79-78 defeat of No. 19 NC State thanks to a Reggie Johnson tip-in with 0.8 seconds left in Saturday’s contest.
The victory against the league’s preseason favorite came after the Hurricanes rallied from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half. It was the Wolfpack’s first loss at home in 13 games, stunning the crowd in Raleigh.
“The team has developed a trust in each other and a good understanding of what’s expected,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said.
The 8-0 start is quite an accomplishment considering that since Miami joined the ACC in 2004-05, the Hurricanes have posted a winning record just once. Last year, Miami tied for fourth place in the conference with a 9-7 mark.
Plus, it is also not an easy feat to pull off in the traditionally strong ACC. It has been five years since a team has gotten off to such a good start, and that was when Duke began league play 10-0.
“The more you win, the more you find ways to win because your team is persevering,” Larranaga said. “They realize they still have a chance.”
And, while there has been a pair of one-point victories during the stretch against NC State and Boston College, the Hurricanes had not needed much luck during most of the slate, which included a 27-point defeat of then-No. 1 Duke on Jan. 23.
Larranaga is certainly an authority on subject of winning. He guided George Mason – a “mid-major” school from the Colonial Athletic Association – to the 2006 Final Four as well as four other trips to the NCAA tournament during a 14-year stint with the Colonials. He has made an immediate impact with the Hurricanes’ program in only two seasons. Last year, Larranaga became the first Miami head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season when he mentored the Canes to a 20-13 mark, along with posting a winning record in ACC play for the first time.
But he knows there is long way to go before the Hurricanes can start thinking about earning their first NCAA tournament bid since 2008. There are 10 games left in ACC play, including a road game at Duke. “It’s still way too early to know what it’s going to be like at the end of February and in March,” Larranaga said.
The Hurricanes look to continue their winning ways as they play host to Boston College at the BankUnited Center on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
• The No. 3 Iowa wrestling team claimed six of 10 matches to knock off No. 1 Penn State 22-16 ending the Nittany Lions’ streak of 20 consecutive dual victories in front of 15,077 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings with the win.
In a rematch of last year’s NCAA finals at 125 pounds, Iowa’s Matt McDonough used an escape in the first tiebreak to nip No. 2 Nico Megaludis 2-1 as the Hawkeyes opened the dual with three consecutive victories. McDonough’s winning streak now stands at 42 matches. Iowa’s sixth-ranked Mike Evans scored a 4-3 upset versus No. 4 Matt Brown at 174 pounds and heavyweight Bobby Telford closed out the victory with a 9-2 decision against Penn State’s No. 17 Jon Gringrich.
The Nittany Lions returned to the mat with a vengeance on Sunday, shutting out No. 8 Illinois 37-0 for a Big Ten road win.
• No. 5 Duke denied North Carolina head women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell her 900th victory as the Blue Devils downed the Tar Heels 84-63 on Sunday for the fifth consecutive time in the series between the Atlantic Coast Conference rivals. Hatchell will have to wait until Thursday against Boston College to attempt to join Pat Summit and Jody Conradt in the 900-win club for Division I women’s basketball.
• The No. 9 Tennessee women’s basketball team suffered its’ first Southeastern Conference loss of the season as the Lady Vols were upset by Missouri 80-63 on Sunday. Missouri’s Morgan Eye netted 26 points and Bri Kulas contributed 20 as the Tigers posted their best shooting performance (52.7 percent) in SEC play this season. It was the Tigers’ first victory against a ranked team since defeating No. 23 Iowa State on March 5, 2011.
• The No. 2 Quinnipiac men’s hockey squad stretched its’ NCAA-leading unbeaten streak to 19 games (16-0-3) as the Bobcats settled for a 1-1 tie with Brown on Friday, and then exploded for a 6-2 victory at No. 7 Yale on Saturday. The Bobcats boast an unbeaten mark in ECAC Hockey at 12-0-2, and are now 9-0-0 against ranked foes.
• Clemson’s speedsters starred at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City during the weekend as Spencer Adams and Brianna Rollins led a sweep of the men’s and women’s 60-meter hurdles. Adams ran a school-record mark of 7.59, while Rollins won the race with a meet-record time of 7.93. Rollins also went on to claim a gold medal in the 200-meter dash with a personal-best time of 23.22 – the second-best time in school history. She garnered Armory Collegiate Most Valuable Performer honors for her efforts in the Tigers’ second-place finish behind LSU in the meet. The Clemson men’s squad finished in third place behind Texas A&M and LSU in the team standings.
• The No. 7 Long Beach State men’s volleyball team upset top-ranked BYU in five sets in front of a crowd of 3,368 in Provo on Friday. Junior Dalton Ammerman collected a career-high 21 kills in the match along with a .459 hitting percentage. The 49ers are off to a 6-2 start in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play – their best since 2008 – after handing BYU its’ first loss in league play. It is also the consecutive season LBSU has defeated a No. 1 team. The 49ers downed No. 1 UCLA in 2012.
• The No. 2 Stanford women’s swimming team earned a pair of victories against ranked opponents during the weekend, holding off No. 12 UCLA on Friday and then upsetting No. 1 USC 158-137 in the Cardinal’s final home meet of the season. It was Stanford’s fifth consecutive dual meet victory. After swimming a pool record of 52.99 in the 100 back at the Avery Aquatic Center against Bruins, junior Felicia Lee followed it up with a 52.90 against the Trojans the next day. Lee also won the 100 fly against USC with a time of 53.23, and was a member of Stanford’s winning 400 medley relay team.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
|10||UCLA senior gymnast Vanessa Zamarripa nailed her seventh career perfect 10.0 on the vault to spark the No. 4 Bruins to a 196.925-196.200 victory at No. 11 Stanford on Saturday. Her perfect vault was a Yurchenko layout full. Zamarripa won the vault, floor exercise and the all-around with a season-best score of 39.675.|
|18||The No. 2 Kansas men’s basketball team’s NCAA-leading 18-game winning streak ended as the Jayhawks dropped a Big 12 game to Oklahoma State 85-80 on Saturday. KU’s 33-game home winning streak was also snapped with the loss.|
|51||Merrimack goalie Sam Marotta tallied a career-high 51 saves to spark the Warriors to a 4-1 defeat of No. 3 New Hampshire on Saturday. With the victory, Merrimack moved into third place in the Hockey East standings with 22 points, and trails second-place UNH by just one point.|
|84-5||The No. 3 Clayton State women’s basketball team claimed its’ 20th consecutive victory with an 88-54 defeat of Lander in Division II’s Peach Belt Conference action on Saturday. The Lakers are off to a 20-0 start, and have compiled an 84-5 mark during the past three seasons. Clayton State leads all Division II women’s basketball teams with a .944 winning percentage during the past three years.|
|228||California Institute of Technology notched its first victory in almost 10 years, earning a 9-7 win against Pacifica in a non-conference match-up on Saturday as the Beavers ended their 228-game losing streak on Saturday. Caltech, which competes in Division III, was led by freshman pitcher Daniel Chou, who pitched a seven-inning complete game. The Beavers had not won a game since Feb. 13, 2003. Caltech’s losing streak of 463 games (since 1988) against Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams is still intact.|
|450||Rowan head swimming coach Tony Lisa collected his 450th career victory as the men’s and women’s teams swept Ramapo on Saturday. Lisa is in his 34th season as Rowan’s men’s coach and 25th as the school’s women’s coach. His combined coaching record stands at 450-152-1.|
• The Wichita State women’s basketball team is off to an 8-0 start in Missouri Valley Conference play for the first time program history after downing Illinois State 66-54 on Friday. Alex Harden led the Shockers with a game-high 17 points in the contest.
• The No. 2 Gustavus Adolphus women’s hockey team is off to an 18-0-0 start after sweeping Hamline in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference two-game series last weekend. The Gusties set the school record for the longest unbeaten streak to start the season, and remains the lone team in Division III women’s hockey without a loss or a tie on their record.
• The No. 2 Western Washington men’s basketball team survived an overtime battle with No. 4 Seattle Pacific to earn an 83-76 win in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play on Saturday. The Vikings stretched their winning streak to 26 games with the victory before a sellout crowd of 2,490 at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The defending NCAA Division II champions improved to 20-0 with the win, one shy of best start in program history.
• The No. 3 West Liberty men’s basketball team clinched its’ ninth consecutive 20-win season with a 74-62 victory against Seton Hill on Saturday in Division II action. All nine of the 20-win seasons have come under the tutelage of head coach Jim Crutchfield. Before Crutchfield took over the team in 2004-05, WLU’s men’s basketball program had posted only two 20-win seasons since it began in 1923.
• The No. 1 DePauw women’s basketball squad secured its consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference title, and fourth consecutive league title, with a dominant 91-46 victory against Hiram on Saturday. The Tigers are 22-0 on the season, and have won at least 22 contests in each of the last 12 seasons. DePauw and Hope entered the season as the only Division III women’s basketball programs with at least 22 wins in 11 consecutive seasons. Hope is 20-1 after stymying Alma 74-39 on Saturday and reaching the 20-win mark for the 15th consecutive season.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy