Miami men’s basketball is still undefeated at home – but just barely.
The Hurricanes used a late surge to overcome an 11-point second half deficit and defeat the Syracuse Orange, 82-78, on Monday night at the Watsco Center.
Forward Norchad Omier blocked guard Judah Mintz’s potential game-tying shot in the paint with 14 seconds remaining, and guard Harlond Beverly hit a pair of free throws with four seconds left to seal the win and notch a season-high 16 points.
As a result, Syracuse (12-7, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)) is no longer tied with Miami (15-3, 6-2 ACC) for second in the ACC standings.
Omier posted a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds – the most by a Hurricane since 2020. Guard Nijel Pack was close behind with 15 points, which included five 3-pointers on nine attempts.
“Every game, especially in [the ACC], is going to be really tight,” Pack said. “I feel like we’ve been pretty successful with close games coming down towards the end … it’s just preparing us for March, especially when we play teams in the tournament. Games are going to be close, and we got to learn how to win close games.”
Up 38-34 at halftime, the Orange quickly extended their lead to 55-44 with just under 15 minutes to go in the second half after Jesse Edwards slammed a one-handed dunk. The ‘Canes had no answer for the 6-foot-11 center all night, who finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, both team-highs.
But the Hurricanes responded with a 16-8 run, fueled by Omier’s nine points, to put them within three.
Miami then got hot from beyond the arc, nailing a trio of 3-pointers during its next four possessions. Pack had two of them, the latter of which pulled the ‘Canes within one.
“We knew this team was going to play a lot of zone … so I just practiced taking deeper shots,” Pack said. “When I had the opportunity in the game, I was ready for it.”
On Syracuse’s next possession, Pack continued his heroics with a steal and cross court pass to Beverly, who made the transition bucket to give Miami a 71-70 advantage. It was the Hurricanes first lead since 5:30 of the first half.
Miami outscored the Orange 11-8 in the final 3:48 and made all six of its last free throws to win. The ‘Canes shot 25 of 28 from the line in the game to make up for their low field goal (41.7) and 3-point percentages (30.4).
However, in a game that the Orange led for over 22 minutes, it was Miami that held an advantage for the vast majority of the first half.
The ‘Canes used three early turnovers to generate an 11-2 run to start the game. But then guard Isaiah Wong committed two fouls within five seconds and headed to the bench.
Without their leading scorer’s presence on the court, the ‘Canes went on a 5:01 field goal drought, which was ended by Pack’s second 3-pointer of the game.
Syracuse closed its early deficit, though, off a 9-0 run that gave it a five-point advantage. The Orange took their first lead with 5:30 remaining in the half and led by four at the break, but they could not hold on.
Next up, the Hurricanes travel to Durham, N.C., for a matchup against Duke. Tip-off is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Jan. 21.