Miami roared back from a 13-point deficit in the second half to beat Texas 88-81 in the finals of the Midwest Regional on Sunday to clinch the program's first-ever trip to the Final Four. The No. 5 seed Hurricanes will play No. 4 seed UConn next Saturday in Houston as the program looks to continue its magical run under 73-year-old coach Jim Larranaga.
The Hurricanes led 7-0 early but were knocked on their heels by Texas' physicality over the rest of the first half and the first several minutes of the second half. But the up-tempo Hurricanes never relented and used a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 73-72 with 5:26 remaining.
Jordan Miller led Miami with 27 points, and all five of the Hurricanes' starters reached double figures. The 'Canes shot 59.2% from the floor despite hitting only 2 of 8 attempts from 3-point range and not making a single 3-pointer in the second half.
Texas played without starting forward Dylan Disu because of a bone bruise in his left foot. Without him, the Longhorns used just eight players and appeared fatigued late. Compounding matters, star Texas guard Marcus Carr played through obvious discomfort in his leg during the final minutes after taking a hard fall, and forward Timmy Allen fouled out with 23 seconds remaining.
Jordan Miller's perfection
Not only did Miller lead Miami in scoring, but he did so with a perfect 7-of-7 shooting mark from the floor and a brilliant 13-of-13 effort from the free-throw line. The 6-foot-6 guard hit 12 of those free throws in the second half while meeting the level of physicality required to succeed against the Longhorns.
Miller's scoring output was his best in two seasons with the Hurricanes, and the 12 free throws were the most he's ever made during a game in five seasons of college basketball. Eight of them came in the final four minutes. He also came away with a huge steal at the 2:03 and snagged a clutch rebound with 23 seconds left as Texas frantically tried to salvage a game it once led comfortably.
When Tyrese Hunter made a layup with 13:29 remaining to put Texas ahead 64-51, it brought the Longhorns' shooting percentage to 61%. But Texas made just 5 of its final 19 looks from the floor while running out of steam down the stretch. In particular, the 3-point shooting which helped Texas build its lead suddenly dried up. The Longhorns made just 1 of their final 7 attempts from beyond the arc after drilling 7 of 13 in the first half.
Ultimately, the Longhorns still shot 50% from the floor but were done in by Miami's relentless offensive attack and excellent free-throw shooting. This was Texas' ninth loss of the season, but just the second in which it shot 50% or better from the floor. The other one came against Kansas State on Jan. 3 when the Wildcats scored 116 points on 60% shooting. That inability to get stops haunted the Longhorns once again Sunday against a similar type of team.
Larranaga makes history
It was 17 years ago to the day that Larranaga led George Mason to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed as the Patriots roared back from a 12-point deficit in the Elite Eight against UConn. Sunday's win came in strikingly similar fashion, and it made Larranaga only the second coach in college basketball history to take two programs to the Final Four that were a No. 5 seed or worse. He joined Hall of Famer Larry Brown in the category, but there is a difference. Brown did it with UCLA and Kansas, which are storied and well-resourced programs. Larranaga's 2006 George Mason team was the first in program history to reach the Final Four, just like his 2023 Miami squad.
When Larranaga arrived at Miami for the 2011-12 season, the program had only been past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament once. This is the fourth time in his 12 seasons that the program is playing beyond the first weekend.