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MBB Topples Sixth-Ranked Virginia, 66-64

MBB Topples Sixth-Ranked Virginia, 66-64

by Alex Schwartz

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team knocked off sixth-ranked Virginia, 66-64, Tuesday night in its first top-25 matchup of the season.

Fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 24 points for No. 22 Miami (12-1, 3-0 ACC), which led by as many as 15 points and trailed for just 34 seconds in front of a season-high 7,257 fans at the Watsco Center.

After Virginia (8-2, 1-1 ACC) scored the opening basket, Miami forced six consecutive misses and, in just 3:33, put up12 straight points at the other end to go up by 10 after just five-and-a-half minutes. The Hurricanes extended their lead to 14, 26-12, with 9:15 on the clock after a four-point play by Wong capped a 12-2 run in 2:33.

Miami entered the locker room with a 36-26 edge after holding the Cavaliers to just 34.5 percent (10-of-29) shooting, including a 22.2 percent (2-of-9) clip beyond the arc.

The Hurricanes kept Virginia scoreless for the first 5:16 after the break, making it a stretch of 7:07 without a point for the Cavaliers, as the home team upped its lead to 15 points, 41-26. In total, Miami held the Cavaliers without a basket for 8:21.

Virginia closed within one, 43-42, with 8:54 to go after a 10-0 burst in 2:15, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from graduate student forward Ben Vander Plas. Miami, though, never gave away the lead and pushed it back as high as 10 down the stretch on the way to its 11th top-10 win in head coach Jim Larrañaga’s 12-year tenure.

Virginia, which entered the night No. 11 in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency, shot just 36.7 percent (22-of-60) overall and 26.1 percent (6-of-23) from deep. In addition to its strong defense, Miami posted a 9-0 margin in fast-break points and shot 77.2 percent (17-of-22) at the line.

Wong shot 7-of-13 overall, 2-of-3 from deep and 8-of-9 at the line. The Piscataway, N.J., native added six rebounds and a team-high five assists. He became the first Hurricane with four straight 20-point performances since Jack McClinton in January 2009.

Fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller logged 11 points, while third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier posted 10 to go along with a team-high eight rebounds and a season-high four blocks and third-year sophomore guard Nijel Pack scored 10 points.

Vander Plas led Virginia with a season-best 20 points, while graduate student guard Kihei Clark added 13 despite Miami holding him to 2-of-10 shooting. Junior guard Reece Beekman notched 10 points, a game-high nine rebounds and a game-leading nine assists in the setback.

After a week without a contest, the Hurricanes resume play Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. against Vermont at the Watsco Center, live on ACC Network.

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 posted three separate runs of at least 7-0, including two spurts of at least 9-0.
– The Cavaliers started the second half 1-of-11 from the field and 0-of-3 from the free-throw line.
– The last time Miami beat a top-10 team was 3/20/22 when it took down No. 8/7 Auburn, 79-61, in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 in Greenville, S.C.
– Miami’s last win over a top-six team was 1/8/22 when it upset second-ranked Duke, 76-74, in Durham, N.C.
– The Hurricanes’ last top-10 win at the Watsco Center came on 2/25/17, a 55-50 victory over No. 10/11 Duke.
– Miami has won 12 of its first 13 games for the eighth time in program history, including the third under Larrañaga and first since 2017-18.
– The Hurricanes are 3-0 in ACC play for the third time in program history, including the second straight season, as they previously started 13-0 in 2012-13 and 5-0 in 2021-22.
– Per Jared Berson, Wong is the second high-major conference player in the last decade to post four straight games with 20-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists, joining Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine in 2015-16.
– This is the first time Wong has scored 20-plus points in four straight games as a collegian and he previously had just one three-game stretch in December 2020.
– The last Hurricane with four consecutive 20-point performances was Jack McClinton on 1/17/09 at No. 5/6 North Carolina (21), 1/21/09 versus Florida State (28), 1/25/09 against Virginia Tech in overtime (20) and 1/27/09 at NC State in overtime (27).
– Wong moved past Guillermo Diaz (2003-06) for the No. 12 spot on Miami’s all-time scoring list, now possessing 1,492 points.
– Omier’s four blocks set a season high, eclipsing his prior mark of three set in the most recent game, 12/17/22 versus St. Francis (PA).