After losing six straight games, the Miami Hurricanes showed up to play on Senior Night and ended their season on a positive note.
Behind 27 points from senior Kameron McGusty and a personal-high of 21 points from senior Nysier Brooks, Miami defeated Boston College 80-76 in the last game at the Watsco Center of the 2020-21 season.
“A very nice way for our seniors to get a win at home and end that losing streak, which was obviously very disappointing,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said.
Brooks, who hurt his achilles in Miami’s game against Virginia earlier in the week, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, although the majority of the plan for the game was to focus on getting him the ball in the paint.
“Really impressive what he was able to do,” Larrañaga said. “Our focus was on throwing him the ball. The players knew what the game plan was, they executed the game plan, they got it to him early, and he was able to score and finish around the basket.
“The guys were feeding me and just telling me to be aggressive,” Brooks said. “I’m just really happy we got this win going into the ACC tournament because a lot of crazy things happen in March.”
With sophomore point guard Isaiah Wong in foul trouble early, the ball was in McGusty’s possession more frequently.
“He was in a very, very good place mentally, scoring the ball, finding the open man and making a lot of good decisions,” Larrañaga said.
The eight seniors on the roster — Brooks, McGusty, Rodney Miller, Sam Waardenburg, Deng Gak, Chris Lykes, Elijah Olaniyi and Willie Herenton — were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Miller, Waardenburg and Lykes did not play because of long-term injuries that have kept them sidelined the majority of the season.
“A great feeling honestly,” McGusty said about getting the win. “It definitely feels good to be able to send our team out the way we did. It has been a tough season, all the injuries we’ve gone through.
After jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the first few minutes of the game, the Hurricanes trailed only once in the middle of the second half but held their largest lead at 66-57 at the eight-minute mark in the second half. Boston College managed to pull within three-point with just six seconds left on the clock, but Miami held it together to pull out the win.
Sophomore Anthony Walker contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, while Wong, who only played 27 minutes because of foul trouble, scored nine points with five assists. Olaniyi had six points and eight rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes of work. Only five players scored for the Hurricanes.
“Our guys have had a great attitude, a great work ethic. It’s just so difficult to prepare when you can’t really practice,” Larrañaga said. “To me this was a huge game, to be able to go to the ACC tournament and feel a lot better about ourselves than we did.”
The Hurricanes will play in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Tuesday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Once you go into the ACC tournament, everybody’s record is the same, its 0-0,” Larrañaga said.
Miami has face unparalleled difficulty this season because of how many injured players they have. But Larrañaga is proud of the way his team has persevered.