Miami’s losing streak reaches nine, ends regular season with 83-75 loss to Florida State

'Canes basketball head coach Jim Larranaga solemnly walks off the court after Miami's 75-84 loss against FSU at the Watsco Center on Jan. 17, 2024. Photo credit: Alexandra Fisher

Last season played out like a dream for the Miami Hurricanes. The regular-season co-champions of the ACC made a run to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, only to finally be defeated by a UConn team that went on to win the national championship.

This season played out in the opposite direction. In yet another game where the Hurricanes were close but not close enough, Miami lost 83-75 to its in-state rival, Florida State, to cap off its nightmare of a regular season with nine consecutive losses and a losing record.

As has been the story all season long, a key player was inactive for the Canes on Saturday. Guard Nijel Pack missed this one due to a lower-body injury.

While Pack’s presence was certainly missed, Miami was often its own worst enemy throughout the game, with 17 turnovers turning into 15 points for FSU.

The Seminoles also scored 12 triples, eight of which came from senior guard Darin Green Jr., to propel themselves to victory.

Green Jr. led Florida State in scoring, with all 26 of his points coming from long range. He was trailed in scoring by junior forward Jamir Watkins, who scored 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Bensley Joseph scored a team-high 17 points for the Canes, while star forward Norchad Omier and former Seminole Matthew Cleveland each scored 16 points, with Omier also adding 17 rebounds.

The first half saw the two teams go back and forth, with eight lead changes within the first 20 minutes. Miami hounded the Seminoles defensively in the first half as Florida State shot only 35% from the field, but the ‘Canes still found themselves down 37-32 at halftime.

This was largely due to Miami’s 11 first-half turnovers and FSU’s effort on the offensive glass, which resulted in 12 offensive rebounds.

“From the defensive standpoint, we did okay on the first shot, but their offensive rebounds just absolutely killed us,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They ended up with 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 16 points. It becomes challenging when you play good defense but keep giving them second shots.”

Still, the Hurricanes’ steady shooting in the first frame kept them within reach, led by Cleveland’s 10 points on 4-7 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Green Jr. paced the ‘Noles in scoring with 12 points and four three-pointers.

The second half was closely contested, similar to the first half, with the Canes battling back to take a 3-point lead halfway through the second half following an 8-0 run. A balanced attack from Omier, Joseph, and junior guard Wooga Poplar spearheaded the Miami run while Green Jr. continued to rain down threes to keep FSU in the game.

However, once again, turnovers ramped up for the ‘Canes as the Seminoles stretched the lead to eight with under six minutes to go. As the clock wound down, Florida State began to distance itself, taking a nine-point lead, the largest of the game for FSU.

As the regular season clock wound down, the Canes got as close as six points, but FSU held on to win 83-75.

Miami will now look ahead to the ACC tournament, which they must win to get an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. The ‘Canes will enter the tournament as the 14th seed and play the 11th seed, either Georgia Tech or Boston College, in the first round. The 14 vs. 11 game is scheduled for 7 p.m. this Tuesday and will air on ACC Network.