The ‘Canes are dancing in the Sweet 16 once again.
Fifth-seeded Miami beat fourth-seeded Indiana 85-69 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night at MVP Arena in Albany, NY. The victory gave the Hurricanes their second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance for the first time in program history.
Miami’s 85 points are the most the program has scored in an NCAA Tournament game, and that was largely due to ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong, whose 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting were a program NCAA Tournament record.
“It’s just an honor being a part of this program and the history we have,” Wong said. “We have a great team this year and last year too, and I feel like it’s great to see how we came up. I’m just appreciative, and I just love this team.”
Sunday’s game was a total team effort, especially on the glass. The ‘Canes grabbed 48 rebounds, another NCAA Tournament program record, with 20 coming on the offensive glass.
Forward Norchad Omier led the way on the boards. He broke the individual program record for rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game with 17 on Sunday evening. He had previously broken that record on Friday when he tallied 14 against Drake.
“I would say nothing is given,” Omier said. “Preparing for this game, we knew that [Indiana] was a really good team. So we had to come with our A-game.”
Although Miami allowed Indiana’s NCAA All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis to score 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting, the ‘Canes disrupted the rest of the Hoosiers’ scoring production immensely, allowing them to shoot just 35.8% from the field. Big 10 Freshman of the Year Jalen Hood-Schifino scored 19 points, shooting 8-for-22 from the field and 3-for-11 from 3-point land.
“Indiana is a terrific team, and Jackson-Davis is unguardable one-on-one,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We basically put our whole team on him. Started with Norchad, then Anthony Walker guarded him, and then Jordan Miller. We just tried to give whoever was guarding him a lot of help from behind by the guards. I thought we did a terrific job of that.”
Miami started its scoring frenzy from the get-go. Thanks to an early four points and two boards by guard Wooga Poplar, the ‘Canes held an early 6-0 lead that forced an Indiana timeout. Moments later, Miami led 13-3.
Even with Indiana eventually finding its scoring touch, the Hurricanes used the paint and the 3-ball to push their lead to 28-15 at the 9:52 mark.
However, Miami seemed lost afterward. It allowed Indiana to go on a 10-0 run that cut the Hurricanes’ lead to five points. After that, the squads went back and forth between possessions, and Miami led 40-35 at halftime.
However, the second half did not start like the first. Indiana went on a 9-0 run that gave the Hoosiers a four-point lead. However, the ‘Canes kept their aggressiveness on defense and pushed the ball into transition on offense to get them back into the game.
With Miami leading 54-51 at the 10:19 mark, the ‘Canes went on an 11-2 stretch in the next 3:06 to go up 65-53.
From there, the ‘Canes did not look back.
Even with 11 late second-half points — including three 3-pointers — from guard Jalen Hood Schifino, Miami beat Indiana’s full-court pressure and extended its lead to 16 as the seconds ticked down the clock.
The ‘Canes will play against first-seeded Houston in the Sweet 16 on Friday, March 24, at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Tip-off will take place at 7:15 p.m.