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MBB Rallies to Stun Purdue, 58-54

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team stormed back from an 18-point halftime deficit to shock Purdue, 58-54, Tuesday night at the Watsco Center.

Despite playing without injured senior guard Chris Lykes, a Preseason First Team All-ACC honoree, the Hurricanes outscored the Boilermakers by 22 in the second half, including by 17 in the final nine minutes, to earn the ACC/Big Ten Challenge triumph.

Miami (3-0) redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty led all scorers with 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half. His play aided the Hurricanes to their largest comeback win—Miami trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half—of the ACC era (since 2004-05).

“We only had eight scholarship players. They all played. I was very impressed with Deng Gak; he did a lot of good things to help us,” Larrañaga said. “It’s very, very easy when faced with adversity for a team to become unglued and fall apart. I was very, very proud of the fact that, at halftime, our guys pulled together, encouraged each other and said, ‘We’re much better than we played. We’ve got to pull together and play a much better second half.’ And we did.”

Purdue (3-2) sandwiched a 15-1 run to open the first half and a 17-4 run to close the frame around a 9-0 Miami burst in the middle. The Boilermakers, buoyed by stingy defense, took a 32-14 advantage into the intermission.

The 14 points at the break, which came on 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) shooting, was the lowest total in a half by Miami since it joined the ACC.

Following the sluggish start, the Hurricanes scored the first nine points of the second half, quickly slicing their deficit in half, to 32-23, with 16:21 on the clock. After Purdue pushed its lead back up to 17 with 13:12 to go, Miami went on a 14-1 run to cut it to five, 46-41, with 6:32 remaining.

“In the first half, we didn’t share the ball very well, we took more difficult shots than we wanted and we missed those and didn’t get any second-chance points. At halftime, everything changed,” Larrañaga said. “We continued to play better and better defense, we rebounded the ball much better and we shared the ball on offense and got much easier shots.”

The Boilermakers upped their lead to eight, 50-42, with 5:07 to play and then Miami took full control. McGusty drilled the Hurricanes’ first and only 3-pointer of the game eight seconds later, sparking a 13-1 surge that put Miami ahead, 55-51, with 42.3 seconds left.

Included in that burst was an 8-0 spurt that featured a pair of McGusty free throws with 1:36 remaining that put Miami up for the first time since it was 1-0 and gave the team a lead it would not relinquish. The Katy, Texas, native also iced the game from the stripe with two more makes in the closing seconds.

The lone Hurricane to join McGusty in double figures was sophomore guard Isaiah Wong, who totaled 11 points. That duo combined to draw 15 fouls on the night, helping Miami get to the line 29 times in the victory.

“When there is no crowd there and there is no energy in the building, your team has to create it themselves,” Larrañaga said of how the Hurricanes closed the game. “You could really see that at each of the timeouts, that the guys were really encouraging each other and getting excited.”

Sophomore guard Harlond Beverly, who stepped in to start with Lykes out, filled the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. The latter three marks all set or matched his career bests, aiding Miami to overcome its largest halftime deficit since the program rebirth in 1985-86.

For Purdue, freshman center Zach Edey led the way with 15 points, while junior guard Eric Hunter Jr., notched 11 points. The Boilermakers’ leading scorer on the year, junior guard Sasha Stefanovic, totaled five points on 1-of-5 shooting.

Purdue entered the game shooting a blistering 43.6 percent mark from 3-point range through its first four games and Miami held it to a 4-of-25 (16.0 percent) clip. As a whole, Purdue shot 35.0 percent (21-of-60) in the contest, while Miami recorded a 42.6 percent (20-of-47) ledger.

Up next for the Hurricanes is a matchup with FGCU, set for Saturday at noon at the Watsco Center, with action televised live on ACC Network Extra.

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

The 2020-21 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.

– The Hurricanes improved to 1-3 all-time against Purdue, including 1-0 at home and 1-1 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 663-447 in 37 years as a head coach, including 193-113 in 10 seasons at Miami.
– Miami is now 8-6 all-time in ACC/Big Ten Challenge play, including 5-2 at home, 7-3 under Larrañaga, 6-1 in the past seven years and 0-1 versus Purdue.
– For the first time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Beverly, McGusty, Wong, redshirt senior Nysier Brooks and freshman forward Matt Cross.
– As announced prior to tip-off, the status of Lykes’ is day-to-day moving forward due to a left ankle injury sustained in Friday’s game against Stetson.
– Tuesday’s victory was Miami’s 14th under Larrañaga when scoring under 60 points, as the team moved to 14-52 in such affairs.
– Miami trailed by 20 with under one minute left in the first half, by 18 at halftime, by 17 with under 13 minutes left, by 13 with fewer than nine minutes to go, by eight with under five minutes remaining and by one in the final two minutes.
– The previous largest overcome deficit of Larrañaga’s tenure at Miami was 18 on 3/24/15 at Richmond in the NIT quarterfinals.
– The Hurricanes last won a game when trailing at halftime on 2/13/19 against Clemson and last did so in non-conference play on 11/23/18 versus Fresno State in Fullerton, Calif.
– Miami’s prior lowest mark for points in a half in the ACC was 15 in the first half at Virginia Tech on 2/15/14.
– The Hurricanes’ five made field goals in the opening 20 minutes tied for their third-fewest in a half in the program’s ACC era.
– Miami’s 0-of-10 clip from 3-point range before halftime tied for its second-most misses without a make in a half in the ACC era.
– After registering 15 points in the first 5:25 of the game, the Boilermakers did not score in the next 6:19.
– The Hurricanes shot 1-of-17 (5.9 percent) from 3-point range and missed their first 15 attempts before McGusty’s make with 4:59 remaining.
– The last time Miami did not make multiple 3-pointers in a game was 2/25/17, when it went 1-of-8 from deep in a 55-50 victory over No. 10/11 Duke.
– Miami made seven more free throws (17) than Purdue attempted (10) in the victory.
– The Hurricanes held Purdue to their lowest total in a non-conference game since 3/14/15 (51 against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago) and their lowest total against a non-Big Ten foe since 11/29/13 (54 versus Washington State in Orlando, Fla.).
– Three Boilermakers—Edey, redshirt freshman guard Brandon Newman and junior forward Trevion Williams—fouled out.
– Wong, surpassed 750 minutes played as a Hurricane, posted the 13th double-digit point total of his career and third of 2020-21.
– McGusty eclipsed 250 rebounds, 200 free-throw attempts and 150 made free throws as a collegian.
– McGusty, who set a career high with 10 free-throw attempts, scored in double figures for the 52nd time overall and third time this year.
– Beverly posed his sixth five-assist game at Miami, including his second this season.
– With four steals after the break, Beverly tied for the most by a Hurricane in a half since Miami joined in the ACC in 2004-05.
– Brooks moved past 1,500 minutes played as a collegian.
– Sophomore forward Anthony Walker reached 100 points as a Hurricane.
– Gak grabbed five rebounds in the win, good for the second-highest total of his career, trailing only the seven he logged on 11/25/18 against La Salle in Reading, Pa.