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Miami Avenges Last Year’s Loss, Beats UCF

It was an uneven performance for the Canes, but they will happily take the win against a solid Knights squad.

Isaiah Wong wasn’t on top of his game today. Luckily, it didn’t matter.
Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes Men’s Basketball squad traveled to Orlando and beat the UCF Knights on Sunday, 66-64. The win avenges Miami’s home-loss to the Knights last November. The Canes improve to 6-1 on the season. UCF falls to 5-2.

Nijel Pack led a balanced Miami attack with 16 points on 7-10 shooting. Wooga Poplar chipped in with 12 points and 3 steals. Norchad Omier had another double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. More on him later. Darius Johnson came off the bench to lead UCF in scoring with 24 points on 9-15 shooting.

Below are some random thoughts from the game.

Miami struggled against zone defense

The Canes had a few scoring droughts in the first-half today, and they were all when UCF was playing zone defense. Miami’s player movement was minimal, with not enough cuts to the paint to put pressure on the defense. This forced the Canes into too many jump shots. The stagnation also led to most of Miami’s eight first-half turnovers. Luckily, UCF’s ball control was worse, as they had nine first-half turnovers. With all of the above said, the Canes made three three-pointers in the final four minutes of the first-half to take a six-point lead into the locker room. Isaiah Wong capped off the hot finish with a smooth half-court buzzer-beater.

College basketball refs are terrible

Just to be clear, this is an overall complaint. The refs missed calls on both sides today. There was one on the top of the screen most of the game that loved calling charges in the first-half, no matter who was on offense. And they were all bad calls; the defender was moving every time. Ugh. Later, there was an egregious missed loose-ball foul call where Jordan Miller was hip checked out of the way for a rebound, leading to an easy UCF bucket. I know being a college basketball referee is a fairly thankless job. That said, they should be better. No one is watching college basketball to see refs dramatically make charging calls no matter what happens on the play.

Norchad Omier is endearing himself quite well to Miami Hurricanes basketball fans so far this season.
Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Omier the monster

Norchad was an absolute beast on the boards today. Even more impressive, 8 of his 13 rebounds came on the offensive end. Those second-chance opportunities were huge, given how consistently close the game was today. He wrestled defensive and offensive rebounds away from opponents about a half-dozen times. It was truly impressive to watch. Omier has a nose for the ball when it comes off the rim; great instincts. He could be a First-Team All-ACC player if he keeps up the double-double performances during conference play.

Next up: Miami returns home to host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Wednesday, 11/30, at 7:15 PM EST. Television coverage has not yet been announced.

The game is part of the 2022 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Let’s hope the Canes rep their conference well! What are your thoughts on the matchup between the two former Big East foes? Let us know in the comments below.