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Wong Scores 36 in MBB's 107-105 Victory over Cornell

Wong Scores 36 in MBB's 107-105 Victory over Cornell

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team defeated Cornell, 107-105, Wednesday night in a historic triumph at the Watsco Center.

Fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong scored a career-high 36 points, the most by a Hurricane in 15 seasons, to guide Miami (9-1, 1-0 ACC) to victory in a scintillating, high-scoring affair.

Miami, midway through the first half, used a 13-4 run to break a 22-all tie and take a 35-26 lead over Cornell (7-2) with 9:16 on the clock. It then extended the lead up to 14 at the break, as sophomore guard Bensley Joseph hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer—his third in as many attempts in the half—to make it 66-52 at the end of the intermission.

The 66 points marked a program record in the ACC era (since 2004-05) and included 37 total from Wong and fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller on a combined 12-of-17 clip. Wong, who added five assists, scored all 22 of his points, a top-10 mark in a half in the program’s ACC era, in the first 16 minutes, as did Miller.

Miami continued its dazzling offense in the second half and extended its advantage as high as 21, 75-54, with 17:45 remaining. The Big Red, though, slowly began to chip away until it closed within two, 107-105, with five seconds to play.

Cornell had a chance to win the game at the buzzer after a 7-0 run in the final minute, but third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier blocked junior guard Max Watson’s 3-pointer to seal the decision.

The Hurricanes, who had 21 assists, shot 55.4 percent (36-of-65) overall, 50.0 percent (13-of-26) beyond the arc and 84.6 percent (22-of-26) at the line. Cornell, however, forced 16 turnovers and committed just seven, leading to a 29-9 edge in points of giveaways for the visitors, who also logged a 56-40 edge in the paint and a 45-19 mark off the bench.

Miami’s 107 points marked its highest total since posting 108 versus Nova Southeastern on Nov. 16, 2009, and its top mark versus a Division I foe since recording 107 against Savannah State on March 2, 1989. The figure is the highest total of head coach Jim Larrañaga’s 12-year tenure and the second-most ever scored by any team at the Watsco Center, behind just the 108 against the Sharks.

Wong’s career-high point total, the top mark by a Miami player since March 2008 and the highest mark in the ACC this year, came on 11-of-17 shooting, including a 5-of-8 clip from deep to match his career best in made 3-pointers. The Piscataway, N.J., native went 9-of-9 at the stripe, as well as notched a season-high seven rebounds and a co-game-high six assists.

Miller totaled a season-best 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, adding five rebounds and a season-high four assists. Omier logged 17 points on a 6-of-7 clip from the field and a 5-of-6 mark at the line, also pulling down a game-best 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year.

Joseph, in a career-best 31 minutes, added a career-high-tying 12 points on a perfect 4-of-4 ledger beyond the arc, marking the 13th time in program history a Hurricane hit four-plus 3-pointers without a miss and the first since February 2016.

Five Cornell players finished in double figures, led by 19 from senior guard Greg Dolan, who shot 8-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep. Junior guard/forward Chris Manon and sophomore guard Nazir Williams had 18 points apiece, with Manon matching the game high of six assists, while junior forward Sean Hansen scored 14 and Watson posted 13.

Up next for the Hurricanes is a Saturday afternoon matchup against NC State, with tip-off slated for 2 p.m., 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.

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– This is the 11th time in program history Miami has won at least nine of its first 10 games, including the fourth time in Larrañaga’s 12 years and the first since a 10-0 start in 2017-18.
– Miami improved to 19-1 under Larrañaga, including 2-0 this season, when compiling 20-plus assists in a game.
– Through the first 16 minutes of the game, Wong (7-of-9 FG, 3-of-4 3P, 5-of-5 FT) and Miller (5-of-7 FG, 1-of-2 3P, 4-of-4 FT) combined to shoot 12-of-16 from the floor, 4-of-6 beyond the arc and 9-of-9 at the stripe.
– This is the second time in 2022-23 the Hurricanes hit a 3-pointer to beat the first-half buzzer and went on to win by two points, joining a 66-64 triumph at UCF on 11/27/22.
– Wednesday marked the fourth time Miami has scored in triple digits at the Watsco Center, including the second time against a Division I team, alongside a 105-point showing against Savannah State on 1/3/04.
– Cornell’s 105 points set a record by a visitor at the Watsco Center, eclipsing the 98 registered by both North Carolina on 1/23/08 and Florida State on 3/3/07.
– The Big Red amassed 27 assists, the most ever by a visitor at the Watsco Center, surpassing the 26 posted by North Carolina on 1/19/19.
– The last time Miami allowed triple-digit points was 1/27/18 when it conceded 103 in overtime at Florida State, while the last time it did so in regulation was 1/3/07 when it gave up 105 at third-ranked North Carolina.
– Entering Wednesday, Division I teams had won 457 consecutive times when scoring 105-plus points in a regulation contest, with Incarnate Word the last to lose, dropping a 118-111 decision at Houston Christian on 3/6/19.
– The 79 possessions were the most in a Miami game, per KenPom, since a 3OT game at Virginia Tech on 2/19/20 that featured 93 and the most for the Hurricanes in a regulation contest since posting the same number versus Duke on 1/15/18.
– According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, the Hurricanes’ 66 first-half points are the most before the break by any Division I team this season, eclipsing the 65 by UMBC on 11/30/22.
– Miami’s 66 first-half points surpassed the prior ACC-era (since 2004-05) program record of 61 set before the break on 11/16/09 versus Nova Southeastern.
– The prior ACC-era program record for points in a half against a DI foe was 60 on both 3/1/08 in the second half against Virginia and on 11/25/06 in the first half versus Lafayette.
– Miami’s 22 first-half made field goals tied for the third-most in a half in the ACC era and marked the fifth time reaching that number, including the first since tallying 23 prior to the intermission on 11/13/18 against Stephen F. Austin.
– Wong, who scored the most points by a Hurricane in Larrañaga’s tenure, is the 15th Division I player to post 36-plus points in a game this year, including the first from a Power Six league.
–  The previous high point total by an ACC player this season was 34 by North Carolina’s Caleb Love in a 4OT game against Alabama.
– Wong is the first Hurricane with 30 points in a game since he tallied exactly that many on 1/16/21 against No. 16/18 Louisville, while the last time a Miami player had over 30 was when Sheldon McClellan amassed 31 on 11/25/14 at Charlotte.
– The 36 points by Wong marked the most by a Miami player since Jack McClinton logged 38 against St. Mary’s on 3/21/08 in Little Rock, Ark., in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64.
– Wong also became the first Hurricane with 20-plus points in a half since he had 21 after the break on 1/16/21 versus No. 16/18 Louisville and the first with 22 in a frame since Kameron McGusty on 12/21/19 versus Coppin State after the break.
– The 22 first-half points by Wong tied for the ninth-most by a Hurricane in Miami’s ACC era.
– The 9-of-9 free-throw clip matched the 15th-best ledger by a Miami player since the program rebirth in 1985-86.
– Wong moved past Steven Edwards (1996-2000) to take the No. 13 spot on the program’s all-time scoring list, now owning 1,424 points.
– Miller and Wong became the first Hurricane duo with 20-plus points in the same game since 3/20/22 when Wong (21) and Kameron McGusty (20) did so against No. 8/7 Auburn in Greenville, S.C., in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32.
– Joseph’s 12 points tied the career high he set on 11/15/22 versus Florida A&M, while his four 3-pointers surpassed his prior top mark of three set in the same game.
– Joseph became the first Hurricane to make four-plus 3-pointers in a game without a miss since Anthony Lawrence II went 4-of-4 on 2/3/16 versus Notre Dame.