Miami closes out regular season at Syracuse

Third-year sophomore Isaiah Wong celebrates with teammates after hitting a buzzer beater the end of the second half against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 at the Watsco Center.
Third-year sophomore Isaiah Wong celebrates with teammates after hitting a buzzer beater the end of the second half against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Josh Halper

The final point of the Hurricanes’ regular season awaits away from home.

Miami’s men’s basketball team will look to finish the 2021-22 regular season on a high note as it faces the Syracuse Orange on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Miami is coming off a convincing win over Boston College after its collapse against Virginia Tech last Saturday.

Defeating Boston College 81-70 at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, the Hurricanes (21-9, 13-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won in convincing fashion as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

“I thought our guys really did a great job, built up a 15-point lead at the half,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Isaiah Wong was on fire from start to finish, we were able to ride him throughout the first half and then at a crucial time when Boston College was making a move on us.”

Wong contributed 27 points, one assists and one rebound to lead Miami past Boston College. The sophomore guard collected his eighth 20-point performance this season and made sure to express his gratitude for those who helped him fine-tune his offensive prowess.

“My mom and brother have been helping me late nights working on my shot, so I just want to say thank you to them because I was having issues this whole season,” Wong said Wednesday. “I had a good shooting day today and I want to thank my mom for that.”

The win over Boston College also clinched the Canes into a top-four seed and a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, which Larrañaga expressed as something crucial for his team. UM now holds its first 20-win season in four years, including nine true road wins.

“What was most important about tonight was earning a double bye for the ACC Tournament, we will now be the fourth seed, and we are excited about that. That is something that was hard fought all season,” Larrañaga said.

The Canes now turn their attention to Syracuse, led by senior sharpshooting veteran forward Buddy Boeheim, second in the ACC in scoring and needs 30 points to win the conference’s scoring title. Last time out against Miami, Boeheim struggled, scoring nine points on 2-of-7 shooting in an 88-87 loss.

This time out, however, Boeheim will look to correct his previous performance against the Canes on Senior Day at the Carrier Dome. The son of Syracuse’s legendary men’s basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, averages a team-most 19 points per game.

Syracuse currently sits in ninth place in the ACC, boasting a 15-15 overall record with wins in nine of 19 conference games. The Orange will likely miss the NCAA Tournament, barring a shocking run to win the ACC Tournament.

After Miami takes on Syracuse, it will then head to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where it will compete for an ACC championship.

“The whole key is for our starting to unit, for everyone to be playing well,” Larrañaga said. “It takes a total team effort. Isaiah [Wong], he’s very capable of getting 25 or 30 points, and so is Kam McGusty, so is Charlie Moore … The way we’ve played all season long is share the ball, share the ball, share the ball.”