Head coach Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes advanced to 4-0 on the season after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs, 79-67, to open up play in the Baha Mar Hoops Invitational.
Both sides began this match slowly offensively, though junior transfer Matthew Cleveland got the scoring going for the Hurricanes on an easy runout and finger roll in transition. Both ends executed their fast pace of play, though Miami found more success when it was able to settle into its half-court offense.
While the Hurricanes have proven their love for the three-ball in their first three games of the season, they began 1-of-8 from deep. Wooga Poplar, who burst out of the gates averaging over 20 points per game to begin the season, started off cold, shooting 0-of-6 from the field.
Cleveland continued his campaign for transfer of the year, as he led all scorers with 18 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t go away in the first half, and the ‘Canes led 39-29 going into halftime.
The Hurricanes exploded offensively to begin the second half and bubbled the lead up to 16 by the 13-minute mark. On the other end of the floor, Miami forced the Bulldogs to begin the half, shooting 2-of-11. The ‘Canes took their largest lead of the game with ten minutes remaining, with Norchad Omier sidelined for most of the second due to early foul trouble.
Georgia slowly brewed a comeback around the five-minute mark, led by Jabri Abdur-Rahim and freshman Blue Cain, though their efforts fell short, resulting in an 11-point victory for the ‘Canes.
Each of Miami’s starting five players reached double figures, and Miami was able to stay active on the glass despite Omier’s early three fouls. While Poplar struggled early on, he was able to finish with his first double-double of the season, ending with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bensley Joseph played a team-high 37 minutes and was able to compile an efficient 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Miami will face off with Kansas State in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.