Omier’s double-double leads No. 17 Miami over Syracuse 82-78

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 16 Syracuse at Miami
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Norchad Omier had 16 points and 16 rebounds and No. 17 Miami overcame a double-figure deficit to beat Syracuse 82-78.

Harlond Beverly also scored 16 points for the Hurricanes (15-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), Nijel Pack finished with 15 points and Jordan Miller had 13.

Down 11 early in the second half, Miami rallied for a 71-70 advantage on Beverly’s fast-break dunk with 3:48 remaining. The reserve guard then hit two free throws with 1:39 left that increased the Hurricanes’ lead to 78-73.

“We knew we had to come out in the second half and get stops,” Pack said. “The game is going to come down to whoever does that down the stretch.”

Joseph Girard III’s 3-pointer with 1:25 left cut it to 78-76.

The Orange (12-7, 5-3) had possession with 25 second remaining but Omier forced a turnover on freshman guard Judah Mintz with 10 seconds left. Omier was fouled and converted two free throws.

Beverly’s two free throws with three seconds left secured the win as Miami improved to 12-0 at home.

“It’s nice to stay undefeated at home,” Beverly said. “That always feels good to get a win here. You can’t keep losing.”

Beverly made all eight of his free throws and shot 4-for-7 from the field. His minutes proved valuable after Miami’s leading scorer Isaiah Wong was limited because of foul trouble.

“In the month of January, he’s been far more productive and the players on the team really enjoy it when he comes into the game,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said of Beverly. “He’s going to give us a great effort on both ends.”

The Hurricanes shot 25 of 28 free throws.

Pack also played a key role in Miami’s comeback with three 3-pointers in the second half, including a conversion from 35 feet that cut Syracuse’s lead to 64-63 with 5:56 left.

“This is something we worked on the last couple of games, knowing they were going to play zone, especially high up,” Pack said. “So I just practiced taking deeper shots. When I had the opportunity in the game, I was ready for it.”

Jesse Edwards scored a career high 25 points and had 11 rebounds while Girard finished with 21 for the Orange.

“Joe and Jesse really were good and did everything they could to try to win the game,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

The Orange scored nine unanswered points and took their first lead late in the first half. Girard’s three-point play with 4:40 remaining capped the surge and put Syracuse ahead 29-24.

Edwards’ layup with three seconds left gave the Orange a 38-34 lead at halftime.

Miami opened with an 11-2 spurt before Wong committed two fouls five seconds apart. Wong sat after his second foul 4:08 into the game and played five additional minutes the remainder of the half. He finished with nine points.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Hurricanes were among the 11 Top 25 teams that lost Saturday. Five teams ranked behind the Hurricanes also lost, resulting in only a drop of one spot from the previous poll. Miami entered the rankings at 25 on Dec. 12, peaked at 12 before falling to its current spot.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: Edwards had his ninth double-double of the season. Girard shook off a seven-point outing against Notre Dame on Saturday. Girard had scored in double figures in his previous 10 games.

Miami: The home game against Syracuse interrupted a road-tilted sequence for the Hurricanes. They began their road stretch Saturday at North Carolina State and also will play their next three games away from home.

“These three road games in a row are really going to test us to see how much toughness and how much we can fight through adversity,” Pack said.

UP NEXT

Syracuse visits Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Miami visits Duke on Saturday.

No. 14 Miami wins 9th straight, topping Notre Dame 76-65

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Nigel Pack scored 21 points and grabbed four steals in his home state to lead No. 14 Miami over Notre Dame 76-65 on Friday.

A junior from Indianapolis, Pack made 5-of-8 3-pointers. The Kansas State transfer poured in 13 points in the game’s opening 10 minutes to help stake the Hurricanes to a 25-16 lead.

“Nigel was really terrific all game long,” Canes coach Jim Larranaga said of Pack’s first collegiate appearance in Indiana. ” . He’s doing a fantastic job (in multiple facets) and I expect his scoring will continue to be there because he’s such an outstanding shooter.”

Norchad Omier added 18 points, went 8 of 11 from the field and blocked three shots as Miami (13-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its ninth straight game. Isaiah Wong chipped in 15 points and Jordan Miller 12.

Trey Wertz scored 15 points, Dane Goodwin 14 and Marcus Hammond 12 for the Fighting Irish (8-6, 0-3), who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

“We’re struggling confidence-wise, no question about it,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “In our losses, we’ve really turned the ball over and it’s just killing us.”

The Irish had a season-high 17 turnovers, including five by Wertz and four by Goodwin. The Canes committed just nine, and outscored Notre Dame 25-7 on points off turnovers.

“The second half we really picked it up at both ends of the court,” said Larranaga, whose team trailed 34-33 at halftime. “We played better defense, we rebounded better, we attacked the basket more.”

Miami led most of the way, but a Hammond four-point play pulled Notre Dame to as close as 51-49 at 12:12 to go. But Miami responded with a 9-0 run to largely seize control and later led by as many as 14. The Irish got no closer than eight, that coming at 2:30 left in the game.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Canes’ schedule is tough from here and their only league road wins are over a pair of teams that are winless in ACC play, but 4-0 in the conference is a good start. Miami will still have to face No. 17 Duke twice, plus visit No. 25 North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

Notre Dame: The sinking Irish have a steep hill to climb to reach the NCAA tournament, considering they have a trio of double-digit nonconference losses to unranked clubs. Notre Dame visits both No. 13 Virginia and No. 17 Duke in February, and has a pair of meetings with No. 25 North Carolina.

BOWLED OVER

As dejected as Brey was over his own team’s loss, he was quick to ask “what’s the football score?” in reference to Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl contest against South Carolina that started about 90 minutes after the basketball game began.

Friday marked the first time in six occasions that the men’s basketball team has lost on a day that the football team is in a bowl game. In contrast, the football team entered the day 1-4 on those occasions.

UP NEXT

Miami: Visits Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Notre Dame: Plays three of its next four on the road, beginning Tuesday at Boston College.

Travel woes cancel game between No. 14 Miami and Vermont

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The game between No. 14 Miami and Vermont has been canceled because the Catamounts had weather-related travel issues. It will not be rescheduled this season.

Miami is on an eight-game winning streak and is at its highest spot in the AP Top 25 since being No. 6 in the poll released on Dec. 18, 2018.

The game would have been Vermont’s first contest against a team ranked 14th or higher in the AP poll since a 61-55 loss to then-No. 7 Virginia on Nov. 19, 2019.

Miami (12-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) resumes league play at Notre Dame. Vermont (6-8) is off until it opens America East play at UMBC.

Elsewhere, Canisius and Niagara adjusted their game schedules as western New York continues to dig out following a weekend blizzard.

Canisius will now play Rider at Niagara’s campus in Lewiston as part of a doubleheader, with Niagara hosting Mount St. Mary’s in the first game. Canisius will host Mount St. Mary’s and Niagara will play a home game against Rider.

Jim Larrañaga wins 700th game, Miami tops Providence 74-64

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Miami coach Jim Larranaga is the newest member of college basketball’s 700-win club, and the milestone victory came against his alma mater.

Norchad Omier had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Miami to a 74-64 victory over Providence in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off on Saturday. It was the first win for Larranaga over Providence; he had been 0-2 against his alma mater.

“It’s really not about my victories. It’s about my team beating Providence today,” he told ESPN in an on-court interview after the game.

Larranaga is in his 39th season, having coached at American International, Bowling Green, George Mason and Miami.

Isaiah Wong had 18 points and Nijel Pack added 11 points for the Hurricanes (4-0), who outrebounded Providence 38-29 and held a 16-4 edge in second-chance points.

Bryce Hopkins led Providence (3-1) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Jared Bynum had 14 points and Devin Carter scored 11.

A 3-pointer by Pack gave the Hurricanes a 16-15 lead midway through the first half and they went on to take a 38-26 lead at halftime, at one point holding the Friars scoreless for a four-minute stretch.

Providence got within six points on three occasions in the second half but was ultimately done in by another four-minute scoreless drought. An 8-0 run by Miami sealed it, with five points from Jordan Miller leading the way as the Hurricanes went up 63-49 with 5:48 left.

Miami plays Maryland on Sunday in the tournament final. Maryland topped Saint Louis earlier Saturday.

For Miami’s Jim Larranaga, a milestone 700th win awaits

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — It’s almost like Miami coach Jim Larranaga wrote the script. A game against his alma mater, one win away from a milestone few have reached.

That’s the scenario.

Larranaga and Miami take on Providence in the opening round of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, Connecticut – with the Hurricanes’ coach, and 1971 Providence graduate, entering with 699 career wins.

“People talk about milestones,” Larranaga said. “I’ve been at this a long time. I enjoy the coaching. If I get to my 700th win, I’m hoping it will be this season. I hope I don’t have to coach another year to get to it. Only got one more to get; I’m assuming I’ll get there at some point. But quite honestly, it’s more about this team trying to play its best basketball on Saturday at 4 o’clock against a very fine opponent.”

When Larranaga – who is in season No. 39 as a head coach – gets there, he will become the 34th Division I men’s coach with 700 wins on his official NCAA resume, and the ninth active coach on that list. Iona’s Rick Pitino likely will be next; he needs 15 more to officially reach 700.

At 73, Larranaga shows no signs of slowing down. Miami won 26 games last season and reached the Elite Eight, falling there to eventual national champion Kansas, in Larranaga’s deepest postseason run since taking George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. This season’s Miami team has opened with three double-digit wins, and a win over Providence would move the Hurricanes to 4-0 for the first time in the last four years.

“Coach L, obviously, he’s been doing this for many years,” Miami guard Bensley Joseph said. “I feel like it’s just instilled in his mind, what he preaches, what he wants from us players and his message to us is very on-point, very understandable. However many years Coach L goes, he just doesn’t want to stop. Basketball is instilled in his mind. He loves the game. He loves us players. He wants us to be great at life and on the court.”

Larranaga’s career started when he was 27, hired at Division II American International. He won his first game, 84-66 over UMass-Boston.

The game has changed quite a bit since then. Larranaga hasn’t.

Guests at practice are greeted with handshakes from every player. Practices begin with some inspirational words, not always said by Larranaga either. The tenets of Miami basketball – “the 10 habits,” he calls them – are repeated. It sets a tone, and the Hurricanes get to work.

“We do it every day,” Joseph said. “Coach L is like a teacher to us. I love learning from him.”

Turns out, Larranaga has been that way from the beginning.

Major Jennings is the principal at Buzz Aldrin Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey. He was a longtime high school basketball and volleyball coach, and some of the lessons he taught those teams were ones he learned from Larranaga – his coach at American International. Jennings led Larranaga’s first team in scoring.

“You could tell he knew the game,” Jennings said. “He wasn’t a yeller. He was more of a instructor. He’s a great teacher. He always had a detailed report on the opposition, their strengths, their weaknesses, what we had to do to be successful.”

When Larranaga went to the Final Four in 2006, Jennings had to go as well to show his respect.

“It really means so much to see a really good guy starting his coaching days at the Division II level and working his way up,” Jennings said. “He always aspired to get better, to be better and to be a part of his legacy in a really small way from a small school in New England makes me feel tremendously blessed.”

Larranaga still ranks among Providence’s career scoring leaders. The short shorts, replete with metal belt buckle, of that era send his grandchildren into hysterics when they see the photographs. But his game was no joke; he had a 20-point, 15-assist, 12-rebound triple-double when he was there, though some of the details of that game escaped him until reminded about it this week.

He’s also 0-2 against Providence (3-0) as a coach. Those losses have not been forgotten.

Larranaga’s first time coaching against Providence was in the championship game of the 1989 Fleet Basketball Classic. The other was a matchup in the 2014 Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational.

The first one, Larranaga and Bowling Green led by 10 with 6 1/2 minutes left, only to get outscored 15-3 the rest of the way and lose 81-79. The other, Miami fell apart in the second half and lost 76-62.

But weirdly, had either of those games gone Larranaga’s way, he wouldn’t have had the chance that now awaits. He’d have No. 700 already.

“I think beating Providence anytime in basketball is a big accomplishment,” Larranaga said. “But it’s not about my wins. It’s about this year’s team.”

Miami coach Katie Meier suspended for 1st 3 games of season

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami women’s coach Katie Meier has been suspended for the first three games of the season while the school cooperates with an NCAA probe.

Meier said that she is also cooperating with the NCAA. Neither she, the school nor the NCAA has released specifics of the probe, other than Miami calling it “an enforcement matter.”

The NCAA has not announced any sanctions against Miami, which means this is a self-imposed penalty by the university.

“For over 30 years I have led my programs with integrity, excellence, equity and grit,” Meier said in a statement. “I have, and will continue to, collaborate transparently with the NCAA as they review an enforcement matter with the Hurricanes’ women’s basketball program. I look forward to returning to competition on November 16th with the most talented student-athletes and coaches in the country.”

Meier will miss Monday’s season-opener against Maryland-Eastern Shore, Thursday’s game against Stetson and a Nov. 13 matchup with Boston University, all at home. She will return for a Nov. 16 game, also at home, against Florida Atlantic.

Assistant head coach Fitzroy Anthony will lead the team in Meier’s absence.

The university released a statement, saying, “The University and Coach Meier are working cooperatively with the NCAA on an enforcement matter and per NCAA bylaws, the University is unable to provide further details or comment at this time.”

The only known NCAA inquiry involving Miami in recent months was opened late last spring, centered around some name, image and likeness (NIL) deals for some of the school’s athletes. In June, the university confirmed that there was a “review” and that it regularly communicates with the NCAA “to ensure compliance with applicable NCAA regulations,” but did not offer specifics.

Miami’s roster this season includes twins Hanna and Haley Cavinder, two of the most recognizable athletes in the NIL era. The Cavinders announced April 22 that they would be transferring to Miami.

“They are relentless competitors,” Meier said during the preseason of the twins. “I think that’s been missed quite a bit. But they are relentless. Like, they will not rest unless they perfect something. So they were willing to come into a program that’s pretty established. The reason being, they want to play in the Big Dance. They want to play against the nation’s best.”

The Hurricanes were picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season and are coming off a 21-13 year that saw them reach the ACC title game and the second round of the NCAA tournament – falling to eventual champion South Carolina.

Meier’s integrity and penchant for playing by rules has routinely been touted and celebrated by the school. Her 2011-12 team spent most of the season as a top-10 team in the AP Top 25, reaching No. 5 in mid-February and cementing itself as a legitimate Final Four contender.

But in the days before the 2012 NCAA tournament, Riquna Williams – an All-ACC guard that year – broke a team rule. Meier said she suspended the guard for “conduct detrimental to the team,” and the Hurricanes lost in the second round.

Meier has won 324 games at Miami, the most in the school’s basketball history, and 400 games overall. She is a past Associated Press coach of the year and a past USA Basketball coach of the year, is a member of the Miami Sports Hall of Fame and the Hall of Honor at Duke, her alma mater.