MBB Falls, 99-81, at Eighth-Ranked Florida State

By Alex Schwartz
HurricaneSports.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team dropped a 99-81 result Saturday afternoon at eighth-ranked Florida State.

Freshman guard Isaiah Wong paced all scorers with a career-high 23 points for the Hurricanes, who led by as many as eight, but were unable to overcome the Seminoles’ stellar long-range shooting at the Donald E. Tucker Civic Center.

“Isaiah Wong had a great game, 23 points. Just a handful of freshmen have been able to accomplish that [feat of scoring 20 points] since we joined the ACC,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “I thought our guys scored the ball well, we had 81 points. We just cannot guard very well. We don’t rebound very well and the game is all about defense and rebounding.”

Miami (11-12, 3-10 ACC) jumped out to a 10-2 lead and held the Seminoles without a field goal for the first 3:10. Florida State (20-3, 10-2 ACC) countered shortly thereafter with an 18-6 run, including making 4-of-5 3-pointers, to grab a 22-18 edge with 11:15 on the clock.

The Hurricanes regained the lead six times in the closing minutes of the half, but the Seminoles took a 50-47 advantage into the locker room. Florida State shot 8-of-16 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range, including connecting on a 35-footer to beat the shot clock, in the opening session, while Miami went 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) at the line.

Wong logged 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the opening 20 minutes for the Hurricanes—12 came in the first 9:02—to tie his prior second-highest total for a full game.

Florida State used an 18-6 burst in the second half to earn a then-game-high 13-point cushion, but Miami then scored seven straight points in just 50 seconds to make it 73-67 with 8:23 remaining.

The Seminoles used a late 11-0, three-minute run to put the game out of reach and seal the victory on their home court and finish with the highest point total by a Miami foe this year.

Wong’s 23 points tied for the seventh-most by a Miami freshman since the Hurricanes joined the ACC (2004-05) and he became the third rookie to log 20 points on the road in that time. He finished 8-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line, all of which set or tied career bests.

This is the first time in the ACC era Miami has had freshmen log 20-point performances in back-to-back games—guard Harlond Beverly did so Wednesday against NC State—and just the second time two different freshmen have done so in the same year. The prior occurrence of the latter was in 2009-10 and it included a redshirt freshman, Reggie Johnson, along with true freshman Durand Scott.

Redshirt junior forward Sam Waardenburg tied a career high with 15 points, his most in an ACC affair, after making all four of his field goals, including his lone 3-pointer, and all six of his free throws. The six made free throws set a new top mark for the Auckland, New Zealand, native.

Beverly posted 14 points in the setback, setting new career bests in free throws made (eight) and attempted (10), while senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic chipped in 12 points.

Junior guard MJ Walker and freshman forward Patrick Williams co-led Florida State with 14 points apiece, while sophomore guard Devin Vassell scored 13, redshirt sophomore forward Waytt Wilkes logged 11 and redshirt senior guard Trent Forrest tallied 10. It marked just the third time five players logged double-digit points versus the Hurricanes in 2019-20.

The Seminoles finished 13-of-26 (50.0 percent) from beyond the arc, tying the top total of makes Miami has allowed this season after connecting on 10 of their first 19 attempts. Florida State also had a 46-24 advantage in rebounding and a 54-11 ledger in bench points.

Miami, meanwhile, recorded a 21-of-25 (84.0 percent) mark from the free-throw line, good for its second-most makes in a game this season.

Miami now heads back to Coral Gables, Fla., for its first two-game ACC homestand of the season, which begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Boston College, live on RSN from the Watsco Center.

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 37-49 all-time against Florida State, including 8-32 on the road and 8-11 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 656-443 in 36 years as a head coach, including 186-109 in nine seasons at Miami.
– For the first time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Beverly, Vasiljevic, Waardenburg, Wong and redshirt senior forward Keith Stone.
– Stone earned his first start as a Hurricane and his first overall since Jan. 5, 2019, while playing for Florida against South Carolina.
– As announced before tip-off, redshirt junior center Rodney Miller, Jr., missed the game due to a left ankle injury after starting the first 22 outings of 2019-20.
– Junior guard Chris Lykes returned to action after missing the past four games with a groin injury, but played just 21 minutes.
– Redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty also returned court after missing three of the past four contests, including the last two, with back spasms, but played just eight minutes and did not score.
– Miami is now 11-0 when leading or tied at halftime and 0-12 when trailing through 20 minutes this season.
– This marked the third time Miami has connected on 20-plus free throws in a game this season and it finished just one shy of its top mark, 22, set Dec. 14, 2019, versus Alabama A&M.
– The Seminoles became just the third team to notch 50 points in a half—all have come in the opening frame—against the Miami in 2019-20, joining then-second-ranked Duke, which did so Jan. 4, and North Carolina, which did so Jan. 25.
– Florida State became just the second team to make at least eight 3-pointers in a half against the Hurricanes this season, joining then-eighth-ranked Duke, which connected on nine in the first 20 minutes, which did so Jan. 4.
– The only other Miami conceded double-figure points to five players this year was Nov. 5, 2019, in the season opener against then-fifth-ranked Louisville.
– The only other team to make 13 3-pointers against the Hurricanes this year was Temple, which did so Dec. 17, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a game Miami won.
– Saturday marked just the sixth time Miami has lost in Coach L’s tenure when scoring 80-plus points, including the fourth time in ACC play and the first time this season.
– Wong registered his fifth consecutive double-digit point total after not reaching that mark in any of his first 18 appearances.
– The 15 points Wong scored in the first half tied for the second-most any Miami player has totaled before the break this season and tied for the sixth-most in either half.
– Wong is just the third Miami freshman to log 20 points in an ACC road game, joining Dwayne Collins and the aforementioned Scott.
– Wong is the eighth Miami freshman, including the sixth true freshman, to register 20 points in a contest since the Hurricanes joined the ACC.
– Beverly scored in double figures for the eighth time, including the fourth in a row.
– Freshman forward Anthony Walker surpassed 250 minutes played in his young career.
– Vasiljevic registered his 61st double-digit scoring performance.
– Waardenburg notched his 12th double-figure point total.