Miami was hoping to come away with their first conference victory of the season after dropping their first 3 ACC contests, and today’s matchup with Wake Forest appeared as good a time as any to grab a W. The Demon Deacons brought a 7-7 (0-2 conference) record into the Watsco Center, and with it one of the shorter rotations in the conference (other than the Canes).
After taking leads into the second half of each of their first 3 conference games, Miami actually found themselves trailing at halftime Saturday, with Wake Forest using offensive rebounds and Miami turnovers to go into the break ahead 33-32. Wake’s top-2 scorers Brandon Childress and Jaylen Hoard had an off day, going a combined 5 for 24 from the field for 17 total points, but sophomore guard Chaundee Brown picked up the slack, going off for a season-high 22 points. Freshman Michael Wynn came off the bench to contribute 11 points of his own despite just scoring 3 points total in the 14 games prior.
The game truly belonged to the Canes, however, as Chris Lykes and company dropped the hammer in the second half, outscoring Wake 44-32 in the second frame by holding the opposition to 34% shooting and 21% from behind the arc. Miami closed the rebounding deficit to only 39-37 in favor of the visitors (although they were still outrebounded by 12 on the offensive glass) and cut down on their turnovers. Lykes continued to put the ball in the basket like a true go-to scoring option, finishing with 25 points and 4 assists including a perfect 14 of 14 from the free throw line. Ebuka Izundu notched his 6th double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejan Vasiljevic got hot in the second half and pitched in 14 points off the bench. Redshirt-freshman transfer Anthony Mack received his second-straight start, and helped spark the Canes offense with a season-high 9 points.
Miami returns to the Watsco Center court next Saturday at 12:00pm ET when the UNC Tar Heels come down to Coral Gables.