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Miami Beats Drake In The NCAA Tournament First Round, 63-56

The Canes overcame a horrific shooting night to pull out the win.

Drake v Miami Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Holy cow. I thought Miami’s season was over multiple times tonight. The grit showed by Coach L’s guys was awesome. It’s on to the second round!

The Miami Hurricanes topped the Drake Bulldogs tonight, 63-56. Nijel Pack led the Canes with 21 points. Wooga Poplar chipped in 15 points. Norchad Omier had a double-double, with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Darnell Brodie led the Bulldogs with 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Miami advances to play the winner of the matchup between #4 Indiana and #13 Kent State tomorrow night.

Below are some random thoughts from tonight’s game.

The first half offense was AWFUL

Miami shot 7-30 in the first twenty minutes. They only made 2 of their 21 two-point attempts. It was the worst basketball I have seen all year from our guys. It was dumbfounding to watch. There were bad shots, poor movement, and turnovers. The trifecta! Jordan Miller only scored 1 point on 0-3 shooting. Oh, and Isaiah Wong went scoreless on 0-5 shooting. Thank goodness Pack and Poplar showed up, or this game would’ve been much worse going into the locker room.

Omier looked great

It was said during the broadcast that Omier had his ankle worked on for ten hours a day for five days. Ten hours! That is intense. It seems to have worked though, as Norchad looked spry tonight on the way to his fifteenth double-double of the season. Good thing, as the Canes will definitely need him against Indiana. No reverse jinx there, I promise.

Conference Player of the Year no-shows

Miami was fortunate to survive such an awful performance by the ACC Player of the Year tonight. Wong finished the game with 5 points on 1-10 shooting, with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers. Freaking yikes. Luckily, Drake’s best guy and MVC Player of the Year Tucker DeVries was equally terrible, scoring only 3 points on 1-13 shooting. If DeVries plays even a decent game, Drake probably wins.

Miami’s defense won the game?!

Give Coach L credit. Nothing was working and time was running out. He hit the press button at the perfect time. The Canes’ backcourt guys, Bensley Joseph and Poplar especially, stuck all over Drake’s ball handlers. They forced multiple turnovers and missed shots in the last few minutes. Miami ended the game on a 16-1 run. Woo! Gotta love that defensive pressure.

Okay, time to do some scouting of Indiana and Kent State. Late night March Madness! Love it! I’ll see you Sunday night for more Miami Hurricanes Basketball!