MBB Rally Falls Short at No. 13/11 Louisville

By Alex Schwartz
HurricaneSports.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team stormed back from a 20-point deficit to pull within five multiple times Tuesday night at No. 13/11 Louisville, but dropped a 74-58 decision.

Junior guard Chris Lykes and redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty co-led Miami (9-5, 1-3 ACC) with 18 points apiece at the KFC Yum! Center.

“Well, throughout the game, the players have to make constant adjustments as to what’s going on, on the court,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “When we fell behind by 20, we had to change our defense, change the matchups and change our strategy. The players made the adjustments and did a really good job of finding guys and making shots. Not easy shots, but still shots they could make.”

The Hurricanes connected on just four of their first 20 shots, including two of the first 10, while Louisville (12-3, 3-1 ACC) used a 20-2 run to take a 30-10 lead after 12:30 of play.

Miami, however, clawed back in the final minutes of half, scoring 22 points in the final 7:05 to pull within 11, 43-32, at the break. Lykes, who played the entire 20 minutes, paced the Hurricanes with 13 points, a total equaled by Louisville junior forward Jordan Nwora.

Buoyed by staunch defense, the Hurricanes cut the lead all the way down to five, 51-46, with 9:39 to play after a 3-pointer by redshirt junior forward Sam Waardenburg and a trio of free throws by Lykes.

Miami had four chances to make it a one-possession game, but was unable to do so, yet still trailed by just five with under four minutes to go. The Cardinals then went on a late offensive surge, closing on a 15-4 run in the final 3:47, to record the 16-point victory.

“When we got within five, Louisville turned it up a notch and made some really key plays,” Larrañaga said. “They are very good and [we were] on the road. We are going to need to go home, regroup and get ready for the next one.”

McGusty scored his 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including a 3-of-7 clip from long range, and added seven rebounds. Senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic joined McGusty and Lykes, who went 8-of-8 at the line, in double figures, notching 12, while Waardenburg tallied a team-high 10 rebounds, his most in an ACC game.

With redshirt senior forward Keith Stone unavailable due to injury and freshman guard Harlond Beverly playing just three minutes while battling upper back spasms, three Hurricanes saw 37-plus minutes of action in the game.

Nwora led all scorers with 19 points, tied a season high with 12 rebounds and paced all players with a season-best four assists, while senior center Steven Enoch also logged a double-double, posting 12 points and 10 boards.

Junior guard Darius Perry scored 10 points, as did junior forward Malik Williams. Senior forward Dwayne Sutton added nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Hurricanes managed to stay within five points into the closing minutes despite shooting 27.9 percent (17-of-61) from the floor and being outscored by 30, 42-12, in the paint, in part due to committing a season-low five turnovers and shooting 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the line.

Miami now returns home to Coral Gables, Fla., where it welcomes Pittsburgh to the Watsco Center Sunday at 6 p.m., live on ACC Network.

To keep up with the University of Miami men’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesHoops on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The 2019-20 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes moved to 4-13 all-time against Louisville, including 0-6 on the road and 2-6 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 654-436 in 36 years as a head coach, including 184-102 in nine seasons at Miami.
– Louisville remains one of just two current ACC teams Coach L has not defeated on the road during his Miami tenure, along with Wake Forest.
– For the 14th time in as many games this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Lykes, McGusty, Vasiljevic, Waardenburg and redshirt junior center Rodney Miller, Jr.
– After going 0-10 on the road last year, the Hurricanes dropped a true road game for the first time in 2019-20, falling to 3-1.
– As announced prior to the game, Stone is out indefinitely due to a left knee injury.
– Miami, 9-0 when leading or tied at halftime, is now 0-5 when trailing through 20 minutes this season.
– Lykes, who tied for the third-most points in a first half by a Hurricane this season, tallied his 55th double-digit point total and eclipsed 150 rebounds at Miami.
– Vasiljevic, who is 26-of-26 at the line this season, notched his 53rd double-figure scoring output and surpassed 100 made free throws in his career.
– McGusty, who moved past 800 points as a collegian, recorded his 40th double-digit scoring performance.
– Freshman guard Isaiah Wong played a career-high 26 minutes in the setback.
– The last time Miami shot under 30 percent in a game was Dec. 19, 2014, when it registered a 29.3 percent clip (12-of-41) against Eastern Kentucky.
– This is the first time Miami has lost a game this season in which its opponent did not shoot over 50 percent in both halves, as Louisville reached that mark in neither frame.
– Nwora and Enoch recorded double-doubles in both of Miami’s meetings with the Cardinals this season, as they also achieved the feats Nov. 5 in the season opener.
– The Cardinals scored 16 points in the first 16:13 of the second half and 15 in the final 3:47.