The Miami Hurricanes outlasted the La Salle Explorers today at the Watsco Center, 84-77. Wooga Poplar led the Canes with a career-high 25 points, plus 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Norchad Omier had 23 points and 8 rebounds. Matthew Cleveland chipped in 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Khalil Brantley led the Explorers with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Miami improves to 8-2. La Salle drops to 8-3.
Below are some random thoughts from today’s game.
Miami’s star guard showed off all of his athleticism today. I could’ve chosen a few other plays as well to put below. Wooga needed a game like this to get his confidence back after a subpar performance against Colorado. Going for a career-high in points is one way to do it. Poplar hasn’t fallen off from his hot start and looks to keep it going as he gets closer to conference play.
Miami continues their “give up too many easy shots” defensive identity. I know they weren’t awesome on defense last season until March, but they were better than this. The Canes also allow opposing guards to drive to the basket far too often. La Salle has some good shooters and an experienced coach, but Miami gave up way too many wide open shots today. They should’ve won by at least 15 points. This recipe is not going to work in the ACC. They have to pick up the intensity or they are going to get burned.
Miami shot 60% today from inside the three-point line. Poplar and Nijel Pack were making their mid-range jumpers, Cleveland was slicing into the lane for layups, and Omier was attacking the basket, especially after one of his six offensive rebounds. With the threes not falling today, it was important for the Canes to get easy baskets. Miami was also 18-21 from the free-throw line, 85.7%. Really good offensive performance on a Saturday afternoon.