MBB cruises to 80-53 win over Louisville in ACC opener

Head Coach Jim Larranaga celebrates Miami's win over IUP on Oct. 30 in the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

The Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team had no trouble against Louisville in their Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) season opener, beating the Cardinals 80-53 at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon.

Forward Norchad Omier had an exceptional performance on both ends of the floor, going 6-7 from the field for 12 points. He also had four rebounds and two blocks in just 20 minutes. The Arkansas State transfer currently averages the third-most rebounds per game among ACC players.

Miami’s 8-1 record is its best start since going 10-0 in 2017. Louisville, at 0-8, is off to its worst start since 1941.

The Hurricanes had one of their most dominant defensive performances of the year on Sunday, holding Louisville to just under 30% shooting from the field and barely allowing the Cardinals any wide open looks at the basket. Additionally, Miami held Louisville guard El Ellis, who averages 16.9 points per game, to just seven points on 1 of 10 shooting.

“I was very concerned because their size is a real challenge for us; we’re undersized. But our guys defended so well, they rebounded so well,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Our guys did a great job from start to finish today.”

While defense was key, the Hurricanes’ offense was also effective. The ‘Canes made 50% of their field goals and went 10 of 11 from the charity stripe.

Similar to their previous performance against Rutgers on Wednesday, the ‘Canes dominated the paint. 44 of their 80 points came from there on 72% shooting.

Miami immediately established an 11-point lead within the first ten minutes of the game. Forward Anthony Walker had five points in quick succession to contribute to the run, which included his first 3-pointer of the season.

By halftime, Miami had almost doubled Louisville’s score, leading 42-23 at the break. At that point, Omier was a perfect 6 of 6 from the floor and led all Hurricanes with 12 points scored.

The second half was more of the same. A 12-4 run gave Miami a 32-point lead with about 10 minutes to play.

With a comfortable lead, Larrañaga rested his starters and had his younger players gain some experience. Freshmen AJ Casey, Christian Watson and Favour Aire received significant playing time in the second half.

All three freshman had their best performances as Hurricanes. Casey had six points on 3 of 4 shooting and four rebounds. He has slowly been introduced to the rotation over the course of the season. Watson and Aire had career highs in points, with five and six, respectively.

Next up, Miami returns home to the Watsco Center to take on Cornell (7-1) on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.