The Canes men’s basketball team defeated ACC foe Virginia Tech with ease Wednesday night, but another Cane had already won at halftime. While the teams were in the locker rooms drawing up second-half strategy, freshman Joseph Diiorio won Muscle Milk’s Beat30 Three-point Shooting Contest.
He won with a score of five points after beating out recent UM graduate Javier Diaz. The two contestants shot in front of the 6,000-person crowd at the BankUnited Center.
“Shooting in front of a big crowd was an exhilarating milieu. The nerves definitely wore me down, causing fatigue, but having my friends cheering me on made it a memorable experience,” Diiorio said.
Muscle Milk’s event coordinator, Lilliana Antequera, understands the difficulty the shooters faced.
“In our experience, most people don’t shoot as high when there’s thousands of people watching them. But they handled it like pros,” Antequera said.
Both Diaz and Diiorio were given prizes for their shooting skills, but the grand prize of the national contest is to meet with NBA superstar Stephen Curry. Although Diiorio beat out Diaz in UM’s final competition, Diaz scored a school-high 16 points in the preliminary round. His score currently ranks second in the nation among the 30 universities that Muscle Milk bring this completion to, and he is still in the running to meet with Curry.
The NBA recently held its three-point contest this past weekend, but the rules of this three-point contest varied from that of the Association. Unlike the NBA, in this contest all shots are attempted from the top of the three-point arch and not from different angles. Also, in the NBA’s contest, shooters have a set of Moneyballs — shots that are worth two points.
Before the final shootout Wednesday night, there was a preliminary round Monday night. The event was run by Antequera along with help from several UM volunteers. Chief among the volunteers was senior Symon Rowlands, who was Muscle Milk’s person of contact at the university. The preliminary round featured 72 participants.
“The turnout was huge. We had 72 contestants this year as opposed to 25 last year,” Rowlands said.
Junior Billah Abdul-Jalaal was one of the many participants at the event, which took place in the Wellness Center. He won the same competition last year on the national level, and got to meet Curry.
“I didn’t even know that was a thing, like that was to meet Steph Curry. I thought it was just shooting, and when I found out I could meet him, that was awesome,” Jalaal said.
Last year he recorded a stellar score of 27 points, but this time around he only score 13 points.
“Honestly I am more nervous now than I was last year, because people know,” Jalaal said before he shot.
Feature image courtesy Pixabay user RondellMelling.
Correction, Feb. 22: Lilliana Antequera’s name was spelled incorrectly in the original version of this article.