College Basketball: Miami Dominates Florida State, 86-63, in Tallahassee
By Alex Schwartz
TALLAHASSEE –The University of Miami men’s basketball team posted a resounding 23-point victory Tuesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, defeating Florida State, 86-63.
Third-year sophomore guard Nijel Pack and fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong co-led No. 20/19 Miami (16-4, 7-3 ACC) with a game-high 18 points in the largest road win by either side in the history of the storied in-state rivalry.
After Florida State (7-14, 5-5 ACC) scored four of the first five points, Miami went on an 18-0 run in just 2:41 to grab a 19-4 edge with 15:38 on the first-half clock. The burst included a trio of 3-pointers by Pack and one by sophomore guard Wooga Poplar.
The Hurricanes extended the lead up to 22 points, 39-17, with 8:46 on the clock after an 18-8 burst that included four more 3-pointers. Miami started 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) from beyond the arc, including hitting seven of its first nine attempts, and 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) overall.
Miami pushed its advantage as high as 28, 52-24, in the opening session and took a 26-point edge, 54-28, into the locker room. It shot 20-of-33 (60.6 percent) from the floor, including 9-of-14 (63.3 percent) from deep, and had a 19-0 margin in second-chance points through 20 minutes.
“Well, I thought we got off to a great start with a lot of energy and a lot of determination at both ends of the court. We defended very well in the first half; we only gave up 28 points, which is really good,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “But we also shot the ball extremely well. We shared the ball. [We had] 14 assists and 54 points. When we’re sharing the ball and shooting the ball like that, it gives me a lot of confidence. I’m sure our players felt great about it.”
The Hurricanes’ stellar first half proved more than enough, as Florida State never got any closer than 21 after the intermission. Miami, meanwhile, stretched its cushion back up to 28 on multiple occasions on the way to the 112th ACC win of Larrañaga 12-year tenure, good for sole possession of 10th place in league history.
Miami ended the night with a staggering 40-23 edge on the glass—it was 22-6 in the first half alone—and led for nearly 38 minutes. The Hurricanes made 29 of their first 47 shots and finished 31-of-55 (56.4 percent). They also hit 11 of their first 19 long-range shots on the way to an 11-of-22 (50.0 percent) mark, while holding the Seminoles to a 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) 3-point ledger at the other end.
Pack, who made his first four 3-pointers, shot 6-of-10 from the floor and led all players with a season-high-tying five assists. Wong went 5-of-9 overall, 4-of-7 from deep and 4-of-4 at the line, as well as pulled down a season-best nine rebounds to go along with three assists and zero turnovers.
Poplar totaled 14 points, his most ever in ACC play, while fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller recorded 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 field-goal clip. Third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier recorded his 45th collegiate double-double, including his 10th this year, with 12 points and a game-best 11 rebounds, adding a career-high-tying four assists.
While Miami had five players with 12-plus points, no Seminole exceeded that number. Redshirt junior guard Caleb Mills paced the team with 12, but the Hurricanes held him to 4-of-12 shooting. Junior center Naheem McLeod logged 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting and sophomore guard Matthew Cleveland posted 10 points.