Miami men’s basketball’s undefeated season came to an end Sunday afternoon, as it was demolished by the University of Maryland, 88-70, in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament championship game. Maryland was immaculate on both ends of the floor, and the Hurricanes were never able to match its level of play.
“We didn’t have the same energy that we had yesterday,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They’re bigger! And we’re learning how to play as a small ball team. We just have to continue to learn.“
The size difference between Maryland (5-0) and Miami (4-1) was a valid reason why the Terrapins had so much success. Miami’s tallest starters are forward Norchad Omier and guard Jordan Miller, who both stand at 6-foot-7. Maryland’s starting lineup featured three players at least 6-foot-8 or more, which caused major matchup issues in the front court.
As a result, Maryland’s forwards had almost total control of the boards. In particular, Julian Reese and Donta Scott had seven and eight rebounds, respectively. Maryland outrebounded Miami 39-20. Its 11 offensive rebounds led to 18 second chance points, the amount that the Hurricanes lost by.
Miami’s leading rebounder was Norchad Omier, but he had only six rebounds in the game, an uncharacteristic low for him. In fact, this was his lowest tally since Nov. 12 of last year when he played Illinois as a member of Arkansas State.
After earning a great win against Providence the day before, the Hurricanes seemed to be less quick in their step, possibly from the fatigue of last game. In the beginning of the first half, the ‘Canes went toe–to–toe with Maryland. Seven minutes into the game, the score was just 17-15 in the Terrapins’ favor.
As the game went on, Maryland seemed to be running circles around an exhausted Miami. The Terrapins used an 8-0 run to pull away late in the first half, and from there, Miami unsuccessfully tried to catch up.
“Today we had low energy. And with the lack of rebounds, it killed us,” Junior guard Isaiah Wong said. He ended as Miami’s leading scorer, with 22 points on just under 50% shooting from the field.
At halftime, Maryland led the Hurricanes 47-34. It was spearheaded by Scott, who had 15 points at the half. Scott tallied 24 points on the afternoon, leading all scorers. He shot 9-12 from the field and 3-4 from three–point range.
The three-point shooting disparity between the two teams was huge. Miami, which depends on the three ball for its success, made just five of its 20 shots. Maryland hit almost 43% of its threes.
In the second half, it was more of the same. There was a time where Miami was able to cut Maryland’s lead to 10 points, but the Terrapins immediately responded with a run of their own to put the game away.
Next up, the Hurricanes look to get back to their winning ways against the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers (2-2) on Wednesday at the Watsco Center. Tip–off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.