The No. 22 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team upset the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers in a dramatic 66-64 battle at the Watsco Center on Tuesday night.
In their first top-25 matchup of the season, the Hurricanes (12-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)) overcame Virginia’s (9-2, 1-1 ACC) gritty, physical defense to pull out the victory.
“I think you saw two great teams battling each other, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “I was so proud of our guys. We got off to such a great start offensively … We were very, very happy with the win.”
Miami started the game strong on the defensive end and went up 10 after just five minutes of action. The ‘Canes extended their lead to 14 at one point and led 36-26 at halftime.
Virginia shot just 34.5% from the field and 22.2% from 3-point land in the first half.
The Hurricanes roared out of the break with energy on the defensive end, keeping the Cavaliers scoreless for the first 5:16 of the second half and scaling the lead up to 15.
However, Virginia responded by going on a shooting tear. Accompanied by back-to-back 3-pointers from forward Ben Vander Plas, a 10-0 run by the Cavaliers brought the game to within one point.
Down the stretch, as all 7,257 fans at the Watsco Center stood on their feet, the Hurricanes delivered.
Miami never let up the lead and brought it up to 10 in the last moments. The home team escaped with a win to remain undefeated at the Watsco Center this season.
The Canes’ offense started with fourth-year junior guard Isaiah Wong, who scored 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting while adding six rebounds and a team-high five assists. Wong continues to add his name to the Miami record books as 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 Norchad Omier posted 10 to go along with a team-high eight rebounds and a season-high four blocks.
This is the biggest win for the Hurricanes so far this season and should boost their resume. It is Larrañaga’s 11th top-10 win in his 12-year tenure at the U.
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.