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Wong Scores 29 as Canes Fall to No. 11/9 Florida State

Wong Scores 29 as Canes Fall to No. 11/9 Florida State

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team fell to No. 11/9 Florida State, 88-71, Wednesday night at the Watsco Center.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 29 points, one shy of his career best, to lead the Hurricanes, who had just six available scholarship players for the second game in a row.

“Well, I thought our guys gave it everything they had,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “I thought our effort from start to finish was good. We’re just worn out completely. We played against a Florida State team that I think is as talented as any team I’ve seen in the country.”

Florida State (14-3, 10-2 ACC) jumped out to a 27-8 lead in the first nine-and-a-half minutes. The Hurricanes answered with a 9-1 run, sparked by seven straight points from Wong, to pull within 11, but could not chip away any further.

The Seminoles upped their edge to 21 points, 49-28, at the intermission. A major difference in the opening half was 3-point shooting, as Miami (7-14, 3-13 ACC) went 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) and Florida State shot 6-of-12 (50.0 percent).

Despite an incredible second-half performance by Wong that included 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, Miami never trimmed its deficit below 15. The Seminoles continued their strong shooting throughout the frame and earned the victory.

Wong, who missed the second half of Miami’s last game with a right ankle injury, finished the night 9-of-16 from the floor, 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 at the line. The Piscataway, N.J., native added four rebounds, one assist, two steals and a blocked shot before departing with 3:52 to play.

“He played at a very high level, especially at the offensive end,” Larrañaga said. “He gives a great effort every day.”

Sophomore forward Anthony Walker totaled 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty scored 12 points and went 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding a season-high-tying four assists to lead the team. Senior guard Elijah Olaniyi chipped in 11 points in the setback.

Junior guard Sardaar Calhoun led the Seminoles with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench. Sophomore Balsa Koprivica tallied 13 points and eight rebounds, also in a reserve role. Freshman guard/forward Scottie Barnes, another reserve, tallied eight points and a game-high eight assists.

Redshirt junior forward RaiQuan Gray and redshirt junior guard Anthony Polite each finished with 12 points in the victory. The former shot 6-of-11, grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and dished out six assists.

Florida State capped the night with a 37-of-69, good for a 53.6 percent clip that ranks as the third-best by a Miami foe this year. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, shot 24-of-70 for a 34.4 percent mark that is their third-lowest of 2020-21.

In addition, Florida State, which played 13 student-athletes compared to Miami’s eight, logged a 57-5 edge in bench points.

Next, the Hurricanes begin a two-game road trip Saturday afternoon in Clemson, S.C., where they have a 2 p.m. matchup against Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum, with action set to be televised on RSN.

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.

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes moved to 36-51 all-time against Florida State, their most frequent opponent of all-time, including 28-16 at home and 8-13 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 11th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 667-461 in 37 years as a head coach, including 197-127 in 10 seasons at Miami.
– For the third time this season and second game in a row, Miami used a starting lineup of McGusty, Olaniyi, Walker, Wong and redshirt senior center Nysier Brooks.
– For the second straight game, Miami played without five scholarship players: sophomore guard Harlond Beverly (back), senior guard Chris Lykes (left ankle), redshirt senior center Rodney Miller Jr. (right knee, season), freshman guard Earl Timberlake (left shoulder, season) and redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg (left foot, season).
– Florida State’s 49 first-half points marked the second-highest total Miami has allowed in a frame this season, trailing only the 51 it allowed in the win over No. 16/18 Louisville on 1/16/21.
– The Seminoles shot 21-of-37 (56.8 percent) in the first half, good for the most makes Miami has conceded in a half this year, passing the prior mark of 19 set by Georgia Tech before the break on 2/20/21.
– Florida State’s 88 points are the most scored by a Miami opponent this year, one more than the 87 scored by Georgia Tech on 2/20/21.
– In a span of 2:18 midway through the second half, Wong connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, en route to tying his career high with four makes.
– Wong tallied double-digit points for the 28th time, including the 18th this season, and logged 20-plus for the 11th time, including the eighth this season.
– Wong, who eclipsed both 200 rebounds and 200 made field goals as a Hurricane, is now tied for the second-most 20-pont performances by an ACC player this season.
– The only ACC players with two 29-point games this season are Wong, Virginia Tech’s Keve Aluma and Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado.
– Olaniyi, who eclipsed 1,300 points as a collegian, notched double-figure points for the 70th time, including the 11th in 2020-21.
– McGusty, who moved past 1,100 points in his career and tied his top mark for made free throws in an ACC game, scored in double digits for the 58th time, including the ninth this season.
– Walker recorded double-digit points for the 11th time, including the 10th this year.
– Redshirt junior forward Deng Gak surpassed 100 rebounds at Miami.
– Senior guard Willie Herenton scored a season-high five points in 11 minutes of action, finishing 2-of-6 from the floor and 1-of-3 from deep.
– All four occurrences of a Miami non-scholarship walk-on playing 11-plus minutes since the Hurricanes joined the ACC in 2004-05 have been recorded by Herenton this season.