Head coach Jim Larrañaga and his No. 12 Miami Hurricanes are now 5-0 on the season. The Canes defeated Kansas State, 91-83, in the scenic backdrop of the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, The Bahamas, capturing the 2023 Bahamas Championship.
Off the back of a heroic 28-point performance, including seven threes from Nijel Pack against his former school, Miami has started its season with five straight wins for the second year in a row and is sure to climb the rankings off of a successful weekend in the Bahamas.
The first half of the tournament championship told a story that saw Miami take full control of the game from end to end, leading by as much as 22 points over the Wildcats. Pack scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half alone, going 6-for-10 from downtown and 7-of-12 from the field to lead all first-half scorers.
Additionally, Norchad Omier went 5-for-8 from the field for 11 points in the half, continuing to be the force in the paint he has always been during his tenure with the Hurricanes. Miami’s defense held the Wildcats to 40% shooting from the field and a paltry 7% from three-point range, helping the ‘Canes take a commanding 47-28 lead at the break.
Will McNair Jr., Kansas State’s leading scorer in the first half, was held to six points on just two made field goals.
The second half saw a different story being told for Miami, as the ‘Canes did their best to keep their foot on the gas, but the Wildcats did not go down quietly. Omier tacked an additional 12 points onto his stat sheet for the game, along with Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland, who shot 5-for-7 in the half for 10 of his 15 points.
Kansas State’s Cam Carter put the Wildcats on his back to try and get them back in the game. Carter shot the lights out in the second half with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, followed by Arthur Kaluma’s 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Despite this effort from the Wildcats, Miami’s scoring kept pace with Kansas State’s late push and held on to secure the 91-83 win in the championship game. The ‘Canes shot 53% from the field and 50% from downtown, a major testament to how experienced a team Larrañaga and his staff have built.
Miami will look to continue its prolific start to the year, as it will face its biggest test so far after the Thanksgiving break. The ‘Canes will travel to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky to face the No. 17 Wildcats in the first-ever edition of the ACC/SEC Challenge. Tip-off is set for Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m.