Behind freshman Isaiah Wong, Hurricanes roll past Boston College

It was a deplete but animated crowd Wednesday night at the Watsco Center, as a much needed 85-58 blowout win over the Boston College Eagles ended a three game losing streak for the Hurricanes men’s basketball team.

“I told the team after the game, winning is a lot more fun than losing,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said after the game. “Not only winning but playing well, where you do the things you planned on doing, when you rebound really well and it’s a team effort.”

Freshman Guard Isaiah Wong shoots a three-pointer during the Hurricanes’ game versus Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Freshmen guard Isaiah Wong led the way for the Canes, scoring 21 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the field. After becoming the third freshmen in UM history to score over 20-plus points in an ACC road game on Saturday, Wong became the first UM freshmen to score 20 points in back-to-back games since Marcus Barnes did it in January of 2001.

“The players, especially Chris, keep on telling me to keep on shooting the ball and get my confidence up,” Wong said. “These couple games I’ve been starting, it’s been great for me.”

Wong has started the last five games because junior guard Chris Lykes (groin) and redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty (back spasms) missed consecutive games with injuries. Both guards returned from their respective injuries in Miami’s 99-81 loss to Florida State on Saturday afternoon but came off the bench as Wong and freshmen Harlond Beverly have played well in their absences.

Junior Guard Chris Lykes drives to the hoop during the Hurricanes’ game versus Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Lykes and McGusty both returned to the starting lineup for Wednesday night’s game. Lykes had 16 points and shot 5-10 from field goal range while McGusty had 12 points and shot 5-9 from field goal range.

“We started four guards, which we have never done,” Larrañaga said. “That group that started had never played a moment or possession of basketball this year.”

Coach Larrañaga said Wong’s ability to score has impressed him since inserting the freshmen in the starting line-up.

“Isaiah has been doing what he can do, which is he can really score the ball and he plays very hard on defense,” Larrañaga said. “He added five rebounds to that stat line and three assists, so a complete game for him.”

With Lykes and MucGusty returning to the starting line-up, Beverly returned to the bench for this game but continued to impress in his time on the court and added nine points, seven rebounds and six assists for Miami.

Senior Guard Dejan “DJ” Vasiljevic (1) dishes the ball to a teammate during the Hurricanes’ game versus Boston College on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

“All four of their guards can score,” Boston College head coach Jim Christian said. “All four of them can get in the lane, they can drive it, they can all make shots, so they’re a lot to handle”

Larrañaga said earlier this week that he was hoping the Hurricanes would have a full roster available for the first time this season during Wednesday night’s game, but starting center Sam Waardenburg missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

With the season coming to a close and tournament play right around the corner, Miami hopes to have a healthy roster moving forward.

“I think when we have everyone out there, we are like 6-1 or something like that,” Lykes said. “Whatever we can do to get to that point, around ACC tournament time to get healthy, I think we can be a real dangerous team.”

The Hurricanes will next face Wake Forest at home on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.