Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball heating up with fifth win in a row

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team defeated Stetson, 82-72, Monday night at the Watsco Center in its non-conference finale.

Sixth-year redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty led all players with 27 points, shooting a dazzling 9-of-12 from the field and 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the Miami (9-3, 1-0 ACC) victory, its fifth in a row.

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“I thought we got off to a great start. We ended up having a very good night offensively,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Defensively, we played well in spurts, but there were spurts where Stetson really just made a lot of shots. They ended up shooting 50 percent from three, which is obviously very disappointing. But we were shooting the ball so well from three ourselves. We made 14 3-pointers, which is our high. We had 20 assists, which is terrific.”

After a nearly even start through four-plus minutes, the Hurricanes began to take over and grab control of the game. Miami went on an 18-5 run in 6:04 to go up by 14 points, 26-12, with 8:59 on the clock. The stretch included the Hurricanes making five shots in a row and Stetson (4-7) missing seven straight, as well as committing five turnovers, on the other end.

The Hatters cut the deficit back down to eight, but Miami used a 9-4 run in the final 3:12 to take a 13-point edge, 39-26, into the locker room.

Miami posted an assist on 11 of its 13 first-half made field goals, tied for its second-most in any frame this year. Sixth-year redshirt senior guard Charlie Moore tallied seven of them, already two past his prior season high.

The Hurricanes put the game out of reach early in the second half when they made four 3-pointers in three-and-a-half minutes. McGusty hit three of those, including two on back-to-back possessions, as he opened 6-of-6 from deep through 28 minutes of action.

Miami, which had an 11-and-a-half minute stretch during the second half in which its eight made field goals were all from beyond the arc, eventually upped its lead as high as 20 in the closing minutes. The Hatters, with the game out of hand, closed the night on a 15-5 run in the final 3:44, to make it a 10-point final margin.

McGusty did miss his final two 3-pointers in the last two minutes, but still set a career high in long-range makes and recorded the most by a Hurricane since Jan. 18, 2020. The Katy, Texas, native finished just two points shy of a career best, as well as posted four rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers.

He became just the sixth player in the nation this season to post 27-plus points against a Division I foe while making six-plus 3-pointers and nine-plus field goals, as well as shooting at least 75 percent in both areas.

“Kam McGusty had a great all-around game scoring 27 points,” Larrañaga said. “…I just think he got in a very good rhythm and got some really good looks. We had a couple of offensive rebound, kick-out threes for him. And then, against the zone, we were able to find him. But he wasn’t the only one; we made 14 threes. So, everybody kind of chipped in, in that category.”

Third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong, who made three 3-pointers, finished with 16 points, six rebounds and a season-high-tying four assists. Sixth-year redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg tallied 12 points, including 10 in the first half, and matched a season high with four assists.

Moore posted nine points to go along with his season-best eight assists—the most by a Hurricane since Jan. 30, 2021—and season-high-tying three steals. Fourth-year junior forward Jordan Miller grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds to lead all players.

Sophomore guard Chase Johnston paced Stetson with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from 3-point range, while junior guard Rob Perry notched 16 points. Graduate student guard Christiaan Jones added 12 points, while sophomore guard Stephan Swenson matched Moore with eight assists.

Miami ended the evening 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range, while Stetson shot 13-of-26 (50.0 percent) from deep. In total, 27 of the 55 made field goals in the game came from deep.

In addition, 41 of the 55 baskets were assisted, as the Hurricanes logged a season-high-tying 20 and the Hatters posted a season-best 21. Miami, though, had a season-low six turnovers compared to Stetson’s 12.

Following an eight-day respite from game action, Miami returns to the court Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. for a matchup with NC State, live on ESPNU from the Watsco Center.

 

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Miami Hurricanes media relations contributed to this column

Author: West Lamy

My passport requires no photograph. Experienced play-by-play broadcaster and multimedia sports journalist with years of producing and covering sports. WORLDWIDEWEST is a journey; in this journey my feet don't get blisters, but my shoes do.

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