Georgia Tech's Robert Carter tipped in Marcus Georges-Hunt's miss at the buzzer to give the Yellow Jackets a shocking 71-69 victory over the sixth-ranked Hurricanes on Wednesday night. The loss cost the Hurricanes (23-6, 14-3) the opportunity to clinch an outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship. The Hurricanes, who have a one-game advantage over Duke in the standings, will have another opportunity Saturday when they play host to Clemson in the final game of the regular season. Miami already is assured of the top seed in next week's ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. "We had told our guys that this was going to be a game where they were going to have to play great defense," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "(Georgia Tech's) freshmen are not playing like freshmen anymore." The Hurricanes led from the 12:27 mark of the first half all the way to the 3:38 mark of the second, pushing an 11-point halftime cushion up to 13 points just over a minute into the second half. But the Yellow Jackets (16-13, 6-11) kept their shooting eye while the Hurricanes lost theirs, and that helped fuel Georgia Tech's comeback. Tech, which shot 53.8 percent in the first half, hit half of its shots in the second. The Hurricanes shot 57.2 percent in the first 20 minutes but faded to just 36.4 percent in the second, going 8-for-22 and making only one of 10 second-half attempts from 3-point range. "Our guys played their hearts out tonight," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "There's no question about it. We played with great intensity, great energy and great belief." After facing a seven- to nine-point deficit for much of the second half, the Jackets took advantage of a couple of misses by the Hurricanes to catch up at 65-65 on Chris Bolden's 3-pointer with 4:59 left. After Durand Scott hit one of two free throws for Miami, Bolden gave Tech its first lead since early in the first half with a layup that made it 67-66 with 3:38 remaining. The Hurricanes responded with Julian Gamble's free throw and Scott's basket for a 69-67 lead, but Georgia Tech's Daniel Miller got wide open under the basket for an easy layup to tie it with 2:14 remaining. Miami had the ball in the final minute with the score still tied, but Scott's attempted pass inside was picked off by Carter. After a timeout with 28.2 seconds remaining, the Jackets worked the ball until Georges-Hunt drove across the lane. He missed, but Carter was there for the tip. The official play-by-play gave Georges-Hunt the credit, but TV replays showed it was Carter. "It's tough," Gamble said of the loss, which is the third in the past three games for the Hurricanes. "You expect to win. You want to go out there and play with a good effort. The first half, despite being up by 11, we still didn't play the type of defense we needed to play. "As far as the second half, you let a team get confidence like that and it's tougher and tougher to guard them down the stretch. You've got to give them a lot of credit." Bolden led all scorers with 21 points, with his Georgia Tech teammates Miller and Carter adding 17 and 12, respectively. Kenny Kadji led Miami with 18 points, and Scott added 17. Also in double figures for the Hurricanes were Shane Larkin with 12 and Gamble with 11. NOTES: Georgia Tech became the third opponent in the past four games to shoot better than 50 percent from the field against Miami. The Jackets shot 51.7 for the game. Wake Forest had shot 54.2 percent, a season against Miami, in handing the Hurricanes their first ACC loss, and Duke shot 52.0 percent last Saturday. ... This was the first of two trips to the extreme ends of the ACC for the Yellow Jackets, who finish their regular season Saturday at Boston College. For the two games, the Jackets will travel 3,042 air miles. ... With the win, Tech snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hurricanes in the series.
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