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All five Miami scorers tally double-digit points and Hurricanes outscore Crimson Hawks by 21 in second half
By Alex Schwartz
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team opened its 2022-23 campaign with an 89-55 exhibition win over IUP, a reigning NCAA Division II semifinalist.
Led by a co-game-high 19 points from fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller and fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong, the Hurricanes had a quintet of double-digit scorers in a dominant, wire-to-wire victory on their home court at the Watsco Center.
“I thought the guys did a great job. They executed the game plan exactly the way we would’ve liked. We got off to a great start, we were ahead 13-zip,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “When you’re able to get out in front, everybody tends to relax a little bit and feel confident. I was very, very pleased with the overall effort from start to finish.”
Miami, buoyed by a game-opening dunk from third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier just 18 seconds in, raced out to a 13-0 lead in the first 3:25 and held the Crimson Hawks scoreless for four-plus minutes. IUP closed back within four, 20-16, but the Hurricane reasserted themselves and upped their lead to 15, 42-27, in the final minute of the half.
Larrañaga’s team took a 13-point edge, 42-29, into the locker room behind a 51.4 percent (18-of-35) shooting on the offensive end and 10 points from Miller. IUP posted just a 32.0 percent (8-of-25) mark at the other end, but half its makes came from 3-point range.
The Hurricanes went on a 14-4 surge in just 3:55 early in the second half to take a game-best 21-point cushion, 62-41, with 11:34 to play and end any hopes of a comeback bid by the visitors. Miami eventually used a late 11-0 burst to up its advantage as high as 36, en route to the 34-point decision.
Miller’s 19 points came on 8-of-10 shooting and he added a co-team-high seven rebounds. Wong notched his 19 points on a 6-of-10 clip, including a perfect 3-of-3 mark from 3-point range.
Sophomore guard Wooga Poplar, in the starting lineup for the first time a Hurricane, tallied 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Third-year sophomore guard Nijel Pack scored 11 points and dished out a game-best six assists, while Omier finished with 10 points and a co-team-high seven boards. Fourth-year junior forward Anthony Walker added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
“I think we’ve got five, six, seven guys who can really put the ball in the basket,” Larrañaga said. “So, it gives me confidence that if we can defend and rebound, that gives us a chance to be in good position at the end.”
Graduate student guard Shawndale Jones paced IUP with 15 points, but Miami held him to a 4-of-11 ledger. Redshirt senior guard Dave Morris posted 14 points, as did sophomore forward Tomiwa Sulaiman, who added a game-best eight rebounds.
Miami finished the afternoon shooting 54.4 percent (37-of-68), while limiting the Crimson Hawks to a 30.0 percent (18-of-60) mark. The Hurricanes had a 25-3 edge in points off turnovers, a 27-3 margin in fast-break points and a 56-18 tally in paint points.
In addition, Miami forced 17 turnovers and committed only five, notching 12 steals and conceding just three. It also had 10 blocks, including three by freshman center Favour Aire, compared to IUP’s one.
The Hurricanes will begin the 2022-23 regular season Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m., when they host Lafayette at the Watsco Center, live on ACC Network Extra. The 2021-22 Elite Eight banner will be unveiled in a pregame ceremony.
Fans can purchase an opening night ticket for both the men’s and women’s basketball game (Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. against UMES) for just $15 by clicking HERE.