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MBB Shocks Syracuse, 75-72, After Trailing by 18 in Second Half

MBB Shocks Syracuse, 75-72, After Trailing by 18 in Second Half

by Alex Schwartz

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team ended its 2021-22 regular season in scintillating fashion Saturday afternoon, storming back from an 18-point second-half deficit to stun Syracuse, 75-72, at the Carrier Dome.

Miami (22-9, 14-6 ACC) trailed by 10 with under three minutes left and by seven with just 70 ticks to go, but closed the game on a 10-0 run in the final minute to silence the 23,108 in attendance.

Fourth-year junior guard Jordan Miller scored a season-high-tying 25 points and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds to record his first double-double as a Hurricane. He also scored the final six points of the afternoon in the last 25 seconds.

“We’ve shown the ability to continue to play the game and not the score. I think a lot of players and teams look at the score,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “If they are ahead, they think they’ve already won. If they are behind, they think they’ve already lost. This team has really shown the resiliency and relentlessness to keep playing no matter what the score is and we did that today. We have done that throughout the season. Whether we are ahead or behind, we kept playing hard.”

After the Hurricanes scored the first five points, Syracuse (15-16, 9-11 ACC) answered with 11 in a row in just 87 seconds. It eventually upped the run to 15-2, taking an eight-point lead, 15-7, with 13:43 on the clock.

The Orange took a 14-point edge, 37-23, with 56 seconds left in the half and went on to take an 11-point cushion, 37-26, into the locker room behind 18 points from senior guard Buddy Boeheim.

Syracuse made four of its first five 3-pointers and shot 6-of-12 (50.0 percent) from deep, as well as 9-of-9 (100 percent) at the line, in the first half. Meanwhile, Miami went just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) and 5-of-7 (71.4 percent), respectively, at the other end. Both teams posted sub-40 percent clips from the floor.

The Orange scored the first seven points after the break, grabbing a game-best 18-point edge, 44-26, with 17:32 remaining. Miami, though, responded with a 13-0 burst in just 2:45, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-2 at the line, to make it a five-point game, 44-39, with 14:43 on the clock.

The spurt reached 20-5, as the Hurricanes closed the margin to three, 49-46, with 10:42 left. The Orange missed 14 of 15 field-goal attempts after starting the half 3-of-5, but then made a 3-pointer to go up by eight, 56-48, with 9:12 to go. That started a stretch of back-to-back-to-back long-range makes, pushing the advantage back to 10, 62-52, with 7:10 left.

Six straight points by Miami, including an alley-oop dunk by third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong, sliced the deficit back down to four, 62-58, with 4:34 to go. The margin then grew back to 10, 70-60, with 2:29 on the clock.

After five consecutive points by the Hurricanes, including a 3-pointer by sixth-year redshirt senior guard Charlie Moore following the team’s 2-of-16 start from deep, sliced the margin in half, Boeheim hit two free throws to make it a seven-point game, 72-65, with just 1:10 left. From there, Miami took over.

Sixth-year redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty hit a jump-shot with exactly 1:00 left to begin the late comeback, after which Moore forced a back-court turnover and McGusty then hit another jump-shot. That made it 72-69 with 46 ticks left.

Moore then forced yet another turnover and missed a 3-pointer, but Miller tipped it in with 25 seconds to go, as Miami pulled within one. Moore then came away with a steal and got fouled, heading to the line for a one-and-one with 14.5 seconds remaining.

Although the Chicago native missed the front end, Miller tipped in the miss with 12.8 seconds on the clock to give Miami its first lead since it was 5-3. Junior guard Joseph Girard III missed a shot at the other end, Miller grabbed the rebound and then calmly hit two free throws with 3.9 ticks left. Graduate student forward Jimmy Boeheim III’s 3-pointer at the other end then sailed off the mark and the Hurricanes poured onto the court in raucous celebration.

“I think things happen for a reason. The guys had a lot of energy. We changed our defense from man-to-man to a zone trap and that gave us a chance to get a steal or turnover,” Larrañaga said of the final minute. “The two that were critical was Charlie Moore forcing that jump-ball and the Syracuse player dribbling off his knee. So, we had two turnovers, which gives you a chance because you don’t have to foul—I didn’t want to foul them since they are great free-throw shooters—and they didn’t get a shot because they are great shot-makers.

“The two turnovers led to baskets, which immediately cut into the lead,” he continued. “Guys have to make shots and big plays. Kam McGusty made several foul-line jumpers, but the player of the game was Jordan Miller, that offensive rebound basket and his two free throws to follow.”

Miller had his best performance as a Hurricane, matching the season-best point total he set on Dec. 29, 2021, versus NC State. His 10 made field goals tied a career high, equaling a tally he recorded during his George Mason tenure.

The Middleburg, Va., native, who went 5-of-5 at the stripe, pulled down two more rebounds than he had in any prior contest this year, as well as added an assist, two steals and a blocked shot.

In the second half alone, Miller logged a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double, shooting 6-of-8 from the field and making all four of his free throws.

“He had a great afternoon,” Larrañaga said. “One of the things about the zone is if you are behind the zone hiding on that baseline, you get some opportunities to get to the offensive boards. He is the best offensive rebounder we have and maybe the best offensive rebounder we’ve had [in my tenure] at Miami.”

McGusty finished with 19 points to enter the top 30 on Miami’s all-time scoring list. The Katy, Texas, native shot 8-of-16 from the floor to finish ACC action with 118 makes, a new program record. Fifteen of his points came on 7-of-10 shooting in the second half.

Wong tallied 15 points, while Moore added 11 to go along with a game-best eight assists, one shy of his season high.

Buddy Boeheim poured in 30 points in his final home game, shooting 8-of-17 from the floor, 5-of-9 beyond the arc and a perfect 9-of-9 from the line. His 30 points marked the highest total by a Miami foe this season.

Girard, who had the previous top total against Miami with 26 in the teams’ Jan. 5 meeting in Coral Gables, Fla., scored 17 points, but the Hurricanes held him to a 4-of-14 clip from the floor. Jimmy Boeheim added 14 points, but did so on just 4-of-16 shooting. No other Syracuse player eclipsed six points.

Miami limited the Orange to just 33.3 percent shooting (20-of-60) on the day, tying its best defensive performance of the season. At the other end, it shot 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the floor, as it improved to 10-2 in true road games this season.

Syracuse went 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) at the line and made its first 12 attempts, as well as shot 11-of-24 (44.0 percent) from 3-point range. Miami logged 14-of-18 (77.8 percent) and 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) ledgers at the other end, but recorded a 42-16 edge in paint points.

Up next for the Hurricanes is the start of postseason play, as Miami travels to the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where it will play at a to-be-determined time versus a to-be-determined foe as either the third or fourth seed.

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

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes moved to 11-20 all-time against Syracuse, including 4-10 on the road and 6-6 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 692-473 in 38 years as a head coach, including 222-139 in 11 seasons at Miami.
– With 222 victories as an ACC head coach, Larrañaga tied Carl Tracy for No. 13 all-time in conference history.
– For the 22nd time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of McGusty, J. Miller, Moore, Wong and sixth-year redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg.
– McGusty now has 1,156 points in his Miami career, passing Ja’Quan Newton (2014-18) and tying Kevin Presto (1985-89) for the No. 30 spot on the program’s all-time list.
– With 118 made field goals in ACC play this year, McGusty set the program ACC-only single-season record, which was previously 113 by both Jack McClinton (2008-09) and Guillermo Diaz (2004-05).
– McGusty recorded 335 points in league action this year, passing Wong’s mark last season to end up third on Miami’s ACC-only single-season leaderboard.
– With 147 free-throw attempts in conference play in his career, McGusty entered the top 10 on Miami’s ACC-only all-time leaderboard, matching Anthony Lawrence (2015-19) for the No. 10 spot.
– McGusty finished with an 81.6 percent clip (120-147) from the line in conference play in his career, placing sixth on the program’s all-time ACC-only list.
– McGusty played 689 minutes in ACC action in 2021-22, passing Wong’s mark a season ago to finish second on the program’s ACC-only single-season leaderboard, behind only DJ Vasiljevic’s 693 mark in 2019-20.
– Wong tallied 306 points in conference play this season to finish fifth on Miami’s ACC-only single-season list, passing Guillermo Diaz (2005-06) and Jack McClinton (2007-08) and logging the fifth 300-point occurrence, including his second.
– Wong played 679 minutes in league action this year, passing Shane Larkin (2012-13), Davon Reed (2016-17) and his own ledger in 2021-22 to check in at third on Miami’s ACC-only single-season leaderboard.
– Moore logged 100 made field goals in ACC play in 2021-22, surpassing Jack McClinton (2007-08), Kenny Kadji (2012-13) and Robert Hite (2005-06) to enter the top 10 on the program’s ACC-only single-season list, alongside Rion Brown (2013-14) and Guillermo Diaz (2005-06) in co-sixth place, with the eighth triple-digit mark.
– J. Miller played 618 minutes in ACC action this season, soaring from co-No. 15 up to ninth on the program’s ACC-only single-season leaderboard after passing six individuals.
– J. Miller logged 111 rebounds in ACC competition this year and, after passing five-plus individuals, finished No. 10 on the program’s ACC-only single-season leaderboard.
– J. Miller shot 60.5 percent (95-of-157) in league play this season to place second on the program’s ACC-only single-season list, trailing only Ebuka Izundu’s 63.0 clip (80-of-127) in 2018-19 and becoming the second Hurricane to eclipse 60.0 percent.
– Waardenburg finished the ACC slate shooting 53.9 percent (62-of-115) from the floor, good for the eighth-best ACC-only single-season mark in program history.
– With a 45.6 3-point percentage (26-of-57) in ACC play this season, Waardenburg placed third on Miami’s ACC-only single-season list and became the third individual to top 45.0 percent.
– Waardenburg shot 39.6 percent (59-of-149) in league competition in his career, good for the fourth-best mark on the Hurricanes’ ACC-only career leaderboard.
– The Hurricanes’ 14 ACC victories are the second-most in program history, trailing only the 15 they recorded in 2012-13.
– Miami has 22 wins in a season for the 12th time in program history, including the fifth in Larrañaga’s 11-year tenure.
– This is the first time Miami has swept three ACC teams (Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Wake Forest) in regular season play since 2012-13 when it went 2-0 against five programs (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech).
– The Hurricanes now have two wins this season in games they trailed by 18 points, both against Syracuse, as they rallied from an equal deficit on 1/5/22.
– According to KenPom, Miami and Denver are the only teams with multiple wins this season in games they trailed by 18-plus points, with Miami the lone team to log two such victories in regulation.
– Miami also now owns five wins when trailing by 13-plus points and eight when down by eight-plus points.
– The Hurricanes went 6-3 in ACC play this season when trailing at halftime.
– Miami earned its 15th win of Larrañaga’s tenure when trailing with 2:00 left, including its 10th such victory in ACC play.
– The Hurricanes moved to 21-3 this season when scoring 65-plus points, including 19-3 when scoring 70-plus.
– Miami’s win probability, according to KenPom, dropped to as small as 1.5 percent, which the website ranks as the 25th-lowest mark of any team in a victory this season, including third among Power Five conference contests.
– B. Boeheim’s 18 first-half points tied for the second-most in a frame by a Miami opponent this season, matching Florida A&M’s DJ Jones’ mark in the second half on 11/21/21 and trailing just the 19 by Boston College’s Makai Ashton-Langford in the second frame on 3/2/22.
– The last player to score 30-plus points against the Hurricanes was North Carolina’s Coby White, who did so on 2/9/19 in a game that went to overtime in Chapel Hill, N.C.
– Prior to Saturday, the lowest field-goal percentage by a Miami foe this season was 33.8 by North Carolina, when it shot 22-of-65 on 1/18/22.
– The Orange shot 28.1 percent (9-of-32) in the second half, the lowest mark in the second frame by any Hurricane opponent this year, as the prior mark was 29.0 percent by Fordham on 12/12/21 when it went 9-fo-31 at the Barclays Center.
– The Hurricanes shot 63.3 percent (19-of-30) in the second half, their first time reaching 60 percent in a frame since going 16-of-25 (60.0 percent) after the break against Wake Forest on 1/1/22.
– The two teams combined for just three bench points, as Miami had two and Syracuse had one.
– Miami led for just 91 seconds of action, its lowest total in a victory this season.
-J. Miller, who surpassed 450 made field goals as a collegian, notched his eighth 20-point performance, including his second in 2021-22.
– J. Miller, who set a season high in made free throws and tied his season best in attempts, tallied double-digit points for the 63rd time, including the 13th this season.
– J. Miller registered double-figure rebounds for the 11th time, including the second this year.
– J. Miller posted his eighth double-double, including the first on the road by a Miami player in 2021-22 and the first by a Hurricane other than McGusty in 2021-22.
– The last time J. Miller made 10 field goals in a game was on 11/28/20 versus Howard, early in his junior season with the Patriots.
– Wong, who reached 250 made free throws as a Hurricane, scored in double figures for the 60th time, including the 27th this season.
– Wong logged multiple blocks for the second time in his career, as he also did so on 2/1/21 versus Duke.
– Moore scored in double figures for the 78th time, including the 21st this year.
– Moore posted his 50th five-assist showing, including his 13th in 2021-22.
– McGusty totaled double digits in the scoring column for the 92nd time, including the 64th at Miami and 29th in 31 regular season games this year

Jordan Miller recaps his blockbuster performance in the season finale at Syracuse.