The #22 ranked Miami Hurricanes Men’s Basketball squad outlasted the #6 ranked Virginia Cavaliers tonight at the Watsco Center, 66-64. Isaiah Wong led the Canes with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Jordan Miller and Nijel Pack both chipped in 11 points. Norchad Omier had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Ohio University transfer Ben Vander Plas led the Cavaliers with 20 points. Miami improves to 12-1, 3-0 in the ACC. Virginia falls to 8-2, 1-1 in the ACC.
Below are some random thoughts from the game.
Yes, the last minute of the game was awful
Good thing Miami got off to that hot start, huh?! This was an awesome win, no doubt. And the Canes played great basketball at times tonight. The way they closed the game out was pretty pathetic though. Missed free throws, bad defense, and sloppy ball handling almost allowed Virginia to steal a game they had no business winning. That needs to be tightened up moving forward through conference play and into March. Okay. Enough complaining, for now.
We interrupt the in-game tweeting to announce that tonight's crowd is AWESOME. All 7,257 of you.— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) December 21, 2022
Let's keep it goin'
No. 22 Miami 41, No. 6 Virginia 26 | 15:22 2H pic.twitter.com/tipTonXwAj
Isaiah Wong was the best player on the court
The reigning National Player of the Week was on another level compared to the other players tonight. He was in full control of his body when weaving in and out of the Cavaliers’ defense. Along with the great offense was solid defense and a legit rebounding presence. Wong had 12 points on 4-5 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the first half. Besides an early three-pointer, he was quiet the first ten minutes of the second half. With Miami going six minutes without scoring after the bucket, that’s no coincidence. Wong re-asserted himself in the last ten minutes of the game. He was not in a rush with the ball, playing at his own pace. The offense was flowing through him. Isaiah Wong has transformed from a scorer to a complete player in his fourth season. This win has me even more excited for what he can accomplish with this team in ACC play and beyond.
Miami’s Isaiah Wong is the 2nd major conference player in the last decade with at least 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in 4 consecutive games.— Jared Berson (@JaredBerson) December 21, 2022
He joins Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, who did it in 2015-16, en route to AP National Player of the Year.
Anthony Walker looks lost
He can’t shoot. Omier gave him a nice pass underneath the basket late in the first half and he dropped the ball, turning it over. He got stuck with the ball and threw up an off-balance shot on another possession. Worst of all, Walker’s defense isn’t making up for his offensive shortcomings. He isn’t a liability by any means, but he isn’t a difference-maker either. I don’t know what the answer is. I trust Coach L to not allow Walker to completely lose his confidence and become a total non-factor for 2023. That said, he didn’t play in the second half. Walker cannot and will not see meaningful minutes in February and March if he doesn’t figure it out.
Bensley Joseph is becoming a crunch-time guy
I know, he had a couple dumb defensive plays late in the game: the unnecessary foul and the bad defense that led to Omier’s fifth foul. He also missed the front end of a one-and-one. That aside, Miami’s sophomore sixth-man was great tonight. He made two corner threes in the first half. He made a nice step-back jump shot to end the scoring drought in the second half. His pressure defense was consistent throughout the game. Coach L obviously trusts him based on the amount of minutes he played tonight. Joseph is still young and makes mistakes. I’ll take those mistakes all day long with the positives and energy he brings on both sides of the ball for the Canes.
How high should Miami be ranked when the new AP Top 25 Poll comes out next Monday? Let us know in the comments below.