The Watsco Center was rocking on Tuesday night – especially its rims. Miami men’s basketball slammed nine dunks against in-state foe Florida A&M, including several one-handed jams and alley-oops, as it cruised to its third consecutive victory, 87-61.
Arkansas State transfer Norchad Omier dominated the glass with seven rebounds and poured in a game-high 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting. The Nicaragua native helped Miami pull away at the end of the first half, sparking a run with six straight points that put the ‘Canes up 25-17 with 5:04 remaining.
“I just tried to do what I work on in practice every day and go to work,” Omier said.
From there, Miami steadily increased its lead to 41-27 at halftime. It was the first time this season the ‘Canes did not trail heading into the break.
In the second half, Florida A&M could not cut the deficit, as the Hurricanes took a game-high 28-point lead at one point.
The Rattlers were no match for Miami’s elite defense, which won the turnover battle 22-10. That allowed for quick transition buckets, as the ‘Canes netted 23 fast break points that often ended in a one-handed dunk by sophomore Wooga Poplar or a spectacular alley-oop to Omier.
The Hurricanes also dominated the paint, scoring 50 points there on 53% shooting. It was a different story from beyond the arc, though, as Miami only shot 30.4%.
“The reason we had 50 points [in the paint] and didn’t make a lot of threes was because of the opponent,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “[Florida A&M] stretched out, pressed us full court right from the beginning. And when they do that, you get by that front line of defense [and] you can get the ball in the paint, and that’s what we did.”
Sophomore Bensley Joseph, who had a career-high 12 points, was the exception from three-point range as he drilled 3-of-4 attempts. Joseph also registered his first collegiate dunk, a one-handed slam in the face of a Rattler defender that also drew a foul.
“Credit to my team for finding me…adrenaline was pumping, and it was a good experience,” Joseph said of the dunk.
On a night when star players Nijel Pack and Isaiah Wong struggled to score, finishing with nine combined points, the rest of the team stepped up, including veteran Jordan Miller.
The fifth-year senior added 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Next up, the ‘Canes face their toughest test yet against undefeated Providence at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The game is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. on ESPNN.