Redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty delivered his fourth 20-point game of the season, pouring in a career-high 29 points in Miami’s 76-59 victory over the Lipscomb Bisons (5-5) on Wednesday night at the Watsco Center.
The Oklahoma transfer turned it on against Lipscomb in the second half, shooting 60% from the floor and sinking a trio of 3-pointers. The performance narrowly edged McGusty’s previous career-high, when he scored 28 points against Coppin State in 2019, and earlier this season against Central Florida.
“It’s a great feeling. I wouldn’t be able to feel that without my teammates,” McGusty said. “It’s a testament to all the hard work I’ve put in … and the belief of the coaching staff.”
Even with the 17-point margin, the game wasn’t easy from the start. After scoring 80 points in their come-from behind win on Saturday over Clemson, it was the defense from Miami (7-3) that emerged early on. Lipscomb opened the game making just one of its first six shots, while turning the ball over twice inside the opening five minutes.
The Hurricanes ran into some frustrations towards the midpoint of the first half. Sophomore Anthony Walker picked up two personal fouls within 20 seconds, and his replacement, Rodney Miller, Jr., went down with an injury 49 seconds after entering the game. His status is still to be determined going forward.
The finish to the first half was all Miami, building its deficit out to nine points. Miami led a 14-0 run in the last quarter of the half, highlighted by back-to-back dunks from guards Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller. The Bisons finished the half scoring on just one of their final eight attempts.
In addition, UM forced the Bisons into some major mental errors, with Lipscomb committing nine first-half turnovers. Miami came into the contest forcing an average of exactly 14 turnovers per game against its opposition.
“We trapped the ball screen a few times, we trapped the pick a few times, we fronted the low post one time,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “When you have different ways to force your opponent into turnovers, you’re doing something right.”
UM hit just two 3-pointers in the first half, but came out of the break with some sharpshooting prowess. McGusty and Wong each drilled shots from beyond the arch within two minutes to stretch the lead back out to 11.
From there, McGusty started to steal the show. The redshirt senior sparked Miami with eight straight points, including two triples to boost UM to a 53-39 lead, its largest lead of the contest.
“[McGusty is] a great player, he always attacks,” Wong said. “I saw that before I came here that he was going to be one of the top ACC guards.”
Wong responded in suit, scoring 10 consecutive points over a four-minute span for Miami. The New Jersey native closed the contest with 20 points, just one point behind his season-high output against North Texas in Orlando, Florida.
In the end, the balanced attack of Miami saw it cruise at the end of the game. The Hurricanes shot 50% in the second half, and combined for 17 team assists to lead to the impressive 17-point win.
“I think this is a group that is really well-connected,” Larrañaga said. “17 assists is a good indication.”
The win secured Miami’s first three-game winning streak since the start of last season, when they beat North Florida, Stetson and Purdue. Now, they’ve beaten Penn State, Clemson, and Lipscomb.
The Hurricanes will look for a fourth consecutive win when they head to New York for a neutral site matchup against Fordham at the Barclays Center. Miami won its last game at the Barclays Center in 2019 against Temple but are 2-3 all-time at the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.