CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – University of Miami head men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga made history with his team’s 81-70 victory Wednesday night at Boston College.
The two-time ACC Coach of the Year now has 221 victories in his 11 seasons at the helm of the Hurricanes, breaking a program record that stood for 55 years.
Third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong scored a season- and game-high 27 points for Miami (21-9, 13-6 ACC), which led for over 37 minutes and trailed for only 100 seconds at Silvio O. Conte Forum. The Hurricanes, who held an edge of 10-plus points the entire second half, clinched a double-bye in the ACC Tournament with their ninth true road win in 11 such tries.
“I don’t get emotional about anything individually. My whole goal has always been about the team,” Larrañaga said. “Individual honors are nice—they recognize people—but the most important thing for a coach is for the team to do well, for the players to win and feel good about themselves. This team was expected to finish 12th and they finished [at least] fourth and got a double-bye in the tournament. I’d say that’s an outstanding job by those guys and my coaching staff, who are the ones that have basically mapped out the plan of how to be productive and how to beat some of these teams.”
After Boston College (11-18, 6-13 ACC) scored the opening basket, Miami tallied nine straight points in 87 seconds to take a lead it would never relinquish.
The Hurricanes started 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) from the field, grabbing early control of the game. They extended their lead as high as 17 points, 40-23, in the opening half. The Eagles scored the final basket of the frame and Miami took a 15-point advantage, 40-25, into the locker room.
Wong scored 17 points, including 12 of the Hurricanes’ first 18, in the opening 16-and-a-half minutes, starting 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-4 from deep and 4-of-4 at the line. Miami also recorded six first-half steals, including five in the opening nine minutes, while Boston College had zero, leading to a 17-4 cushion in points off turnovers.
The Hurricanes continued their strong play at both ends in the second session and pushed their cushion up to 19, 60-41, with just 11:25 to play. Miami then went scoreless for 3:06 and the Eagles scored eight unanswered points to cut the margin to 11 with 8:38 remaining.
Boston College got its deficit down to 10, 70-60, with 5:23 to play, but the Hurricanes never let the lead slip below double digits. In fact, they went on a 9-2 run to extend it back to 17 with just 2:18 to go, on their way to the 11-point victory.
Wong’s 27 points came on 9-of-16 shooting, including a 5-of-9 mark from 3-point range to tie his career high in makes. He added a co-game-best seven rebounds and two steals.
Fourth-year junior guard Jordan Miller scored 18 points on a blistering 8-of-10 shooting, finishing one shy of his season high in makes. The Middleburg, Va., native added six rebounds in the victory.
Sixth-year redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg recorded 16 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-5 on 3-pointers and 3-of-3 at the stripe. Kameron McGusty scored 10 points, while fellow sixth-year redshirt senior guard Charlie Moore totaled eight points and a game-high five assists, en route to breaking Miami’s nine-year-old ACC-only single-season assist record.
“We scored over 80 points. We shared the ball very well,” Larrañaga said. “Isaiah caught fire early; he had 17 at the half and 27 for the game. Sam Waardenburg was terrific. Jordan Miller was terrific. Charlie was himself, had another good game. Kam got himself in foul trouble, but hit some very key baskets in the second half. Anthony Walker and Bensley Joseph came in off the bench and gave us some quality minutes.”
Graduate student guard Makai Ashton-Langford paced the Eagles with 21 points, 19 of which came in the second half, during which he shot 7-of-11. It marked the highest single-half total by a Miami foe this season.
Senior forward/center James Karnik recorded 13 points and a co-game-high seven rebounds, while graduate student guard Brevin Galloway notched 11 points. Junior forward Quinten Post added 10 points and shot 5-of-6 from the field, as did Karnik.
The Eagles shot 60.0 percent (18-of-30) in the second half after posting just a 38.5 percent clip (10-of-26) in the first half. They finished with a 50.0 percent mark (28-of-56) on the night.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, posted a clip of 55-plus in each half to register a 56.4 percent ledger (31-of-55) overall, their second-best mark of the season. They also recorded nine steals and posted a 21-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Miami now travels to Syracuse, N.Y., where it caps the regular season Saturday at 1 p.m. against Syracuse, live on ESPNU from the Carrier Dome.
Alex Schwartz – Miami Hurricanes Athletics contributed to this recap