CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The party favors were ready. Scissors were stashed away and confetti ready to fall.
But Georgia Tech wasn’t there for a party. Instead, the Yellow Jackets ruined Miami’s celebration.
With a chance to clinch its first outright Atlantic Coast Conference title, sixth-ranked Miami was left stunned by a second-half comeback to fall 71-69 to one of the bottom teams in the ACC.
Entering with a 5-11 league record, the Yellow Jackets had lost three of four. Miami had a degree of momentum after a narrow 79-76 loss at No. 3 Duke on Saturday.
All was in line for Miami, a 13.5-point favorite, to cruise into the history books.
Instead, the less-than-capacity crowd will have to wait until Saturday to potentially celebrate. Miami closes the regular-season with Clemson at 2:30 p.m.
Erasing memories of its first home loss of the season will be the first challenge.
Marcus Georges-Hunt’s tip in beat the buzzer to finish the stunning collapse. Officials had to consult the monitor, but the shot clearly beat the buzzer. A wild celebration from the Georgia Tech sideline echoed throughout the BankUnited Center.
Miami (23-6, 14-3) led by as many as 13 in the second half before Georgia Tech found another gear. Chris Bolden scored 16 of his 21 after halftime as the Yellow Jackets slowly dug into the Miami lead. He and Robert Carter Jr. combined to hit three 3s in a 2:20 span that cut the lead down to a manageable 60-56.
Durand Scott gave Miami its final lead at 69-67 with a runner and 2:36 left, but Daniel Miller’s layup tied it with 2:14 left. Scott had the ball on Miami’s final possession, but Carter Jr. intercepted the pass, setting up the final sequence.
At halftime the Miami lead was 43-32 thanks to Trey McKinney Jones’ last second 3. The Miami shooting percentage was 57.1 at halftime while making 5 of 8 attempts from 3-point range. In the end, the Hurricanes shot 48 percent and was 6-for-18 from the perimeter.
Georgia Tech (16-13, 5-11) remained within striking distance thanks center Miller’s nine first-half points. Miami led by as many as 12 after turning a 14-11 deficit into a double-figure lead with a 14-0 run.
Kadji scored 10 of his team-high 18 in the first 10 minutes. Miami couldn’t miss early on as they went 11-for-14 in the opening 10 minutes. Kadji, Shane Larkin and Scott combined to make their first 12 shots.
Scott had 17 for Miami followed by Larkin’s 12 and Julian Gamble’s 11.
Hurricane Rion Brown, who scored a career-high 22 against the Yellow Jackets in a 62-49 win to open ACC play, saw extra meaning in this win. His father Tico Brown starred at Georgia Tech, so he admitted earlier in the week that he’d take extra pride in clinching against the Jackets. Brown went scoreless and missed both shots he took.
Senior Reggie Brown, needing a bounce-back game after going scoreless in Saturday’s loss at Duke, got a second straight start. He committed two turnovers in the opening four minutes and finished with 2 points on 1-for-4 shooting.