|ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation||[Print without images]|
|Reggie Johnson has struggled since returning from a thumb injury that sidelined him for eight games.|
Reggie Johnson would have liked to revel in a glorious occasion Wednesday night. But he spent too much of the game on the bench, towel on thighs, elbows on knees, chin in hands.
When the Hurricanes had a chance to clinch the University of Miami’s first ACC regular season title, Johnson was not inserted.
When Georgia Tech’s Marcus Georges-Hunt drove to the basket as time ran out, Johnson was not imposing his mass to alter the shot or block the tip-in that secured the 71-69 upset for the lowly Yellow Jackets and silenced fans primed to celebrate history.
Johnson had a faraway look in his eyes. The senior center has been a big, big, big part of UM’s progression to No. 6 in the nation. What remains to be seen is whether he will be a big part of UM’s upcoming ACC and NCAA Tournament runs. He is 300 pounds of unrealized potential. March would be the perfect time to tap it.
He played 15 minutes, scored two points on four shots, grabbed a single rebound, and missed his lone free throw.
The loss followed UM’s loss at Duke, where Johnson played 17 minutes and scored zero points, made five rebounds and failed to get to the line.
Johnson’s presence has been diminishing since he returned from a thumb injury on Jan. 23. He lost his starting role to Julian Gamble. His scoring average has dropped from 11.3 to 8.1. His rebounding average has dropped from 9.5 to 7.5. In the past nine games, he has made just nine free throws.