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MBB Drops 66-54 Road Result at Wake Forest

MBB Drops 66-54 Road Result at Wake Forest

by Alex Schwartz

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Playing with only six available scholarship student-athletes, the University of Miami men’s basketball team fell, 66-54, Saturday afternoon at Wake Forest.

Redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty scored a game-high 17 points for the Hurricanes at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

“Wake Forest earned the victory. We, obviously, are very beat up and don’t have a lot of weapons right now,” Miami head coach Jim Larrñaga said. “I was proud of the effort we gave in the second half. I thought we did some good things to kind of put ourselves in a position to go on a run, but we just don’t have enough offense to complete the plays.”

The Hurricanes held Wake Forest (5-7, 2-7 ACC) scoreless for the first 4:34 and raced out to a 7-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, though, the Demon Deacons went on a 15-0 run on which they made five of six 3-point attempts to take a 20-13 edge with 8:02 on the clock.

After Miami (6-10, 2-9 ACC) pulled within two, Wake Forest scored 11 straight points to go up by 13. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by sophomore guard Isaiah Wong trimmed it to 10, 34-24, at the break.

Both teams shot well from deep in the opening 20 minutes, with the Hurricanes going 6-of-10 (60.0 percent) and Wake Forest posting a 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) clip. However, the Demon Deacons posted an 8-1 advantage in offensive rebounds.

The Hurricanes chipped away throughout the second half and cut the deficit to five, 45-40, on a 3-pointer by Wong with 8:59 to go. Junior guard Daivien Williamson then hit a 3-pointer at the other end just 23 seconds later, as Wake Forest continued its dazzling long-range shooting.

Miami never got closer than seven the rest of the way and dropped a fifth straight road game to the Demon Deacons.

McGusty’s 17 points, 11 of which were in the first 15 minutes, came on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-4 clip from beyond the arc.

Wong totaled 14 points and a co-team-high seven rebounds before departing with 2:17 left due to a right ankle injury. Sophomore forward Anthony Walker logged 12 points and also grabbed seven boards.

Sophomore guard Harlond Beverly led all players with nine assists, good for the most by a Hurricane since Chris Lykes reached that same mark on March 8, 2019, at Virginia Tech.

Williamson scored 16 points to pace the Demon Deacons, while redshirt senior guard Jalen Johnson had 15 and junior forward Isaiah Mucius logged 13. Freshman guard Carter Whitt added 11 points, hitting all four of his field-goal attempts, including each of his three 3-pointers after entering the game 1-of-10 from deep on the season.

Miami finished the game with a better field-goal percentage, notching a 43.1 clip (22-of-51) compared to Wake Forest’s 41.1 mark (23-of-56), as well as a better 3-point percentage, registering a season-best 56.3 ledger (9-of-16) and conceding a 44.8 mark (13-of-29).

However, the Demon Deacons went 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) from the line and Miami finished just 1-of-8 (12.5 percent), including missing all six of its first-half attempts. In addition, Wake Forest had a 9-3 advantage in offensive rebounds and an 8-0 edge in second-chance points.

Up next for the Hurricanes is a Big Monday matchup with Duke, set for 7 p.m., live on ESPN 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 2020-21 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.

– The Hurricanes moved to 12-13 all-time against Wake Forest, including 1-11 on the road and 7-5 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Wake Forest remains one of just two ACC teams Larrañaga has not defeated on the road while at Miami, alongside Louisville.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 11th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 666-457 in 37 years as a head coach, including 196-123 in 10 seasons at Miami.
– For the first time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Beverly, McGusty, Walker, Wong and redshirt junior forward Deng Gak.
– With Gak getting the second opening nod of his career and first of the season, Miami has now used eight different starting lineups in 2020-21, including a different one each of the past three games.
– Miami once again played without three of its four returning starters: senior guard Chris Lykes (left ankle), redshirt senior center Rodney Miller Jr. (right knee, season) and redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg (left foot, season).
– In addition, the Hurricanes were again without freshman guard Earl Timberlake (left shoulder) and senior guard Elijah Olaniyi (left shoulder), with the former out indefinitely and the latter day-to-day.
– Wake Forest is the third team to connect on nine 3-pointers in a half against Miami this season, joining North Florida (first half on 11/29/20) and Boston College (both halves on 1/12/21).
– The Hurricanes have scored under 25 points in the first half in each of their last four games after doing so just once previously in 2020-21.
– This is the fourth game in a row the Hurricanes have finished with under 60 points after doing so only twice before this season.
– Miami’s 54 points marked its lowest total of the year, which was previously 55 on 12/16/20 against Pittsburgh.
– Prior to shooting 1-of-8 (12.5 percent) from the line Saturday, Miami’s previous lows this season were eight makes (twice), 10 attempts (1/24/21 vs. Notre Dame) and 51.6 percent (12/16/20 vs. Pittsburgh).
– The last time the Hurricanes did not make multiple free throws in a game was 11/24/19, when they went 1-of-2 against UConn in Charleston, S.C.
– This is the first time Miami has made fewer than two free throws in an ACC game since joining the league in 2004-05.
– With 13:38 on the first-half clock, Gak logged the first made 3-pointer of his career, on just his fourth attempt.
– Gak played a career-high 29 minutes and scored seven points, one shy of his career high, which he set on 12/29/20 at No. 24/RV Virginia Tech.
– In his 100th appearance as a collegian, McGusty moved past both 1,050 points and 100 assists.
– McGusty finished with double-digit points for the 55th time, including the sixth this season.
– Walker, who reached 200 points and surpassed 100 rebounds in his career, logged double-figure points for the seventh time, including the this year.
– Finishing 5-of-10 from the floor, Walker matched his career high in made field goals.
– Wong, who made four 3-pointers in a game for the first time, tallied double figures in the scoring column for the 24th time, including the 14th in 2020-21.
– Beverly notched his eighth outing with five-plus assists, including his fourth this season.
– Senior guard Willie Herenton eclipsed 100 minutes played at Miami.