NCAA: Huricanes Rally Past Second-Seeded Texas, 88-81

By Alex Schwartz

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Facing a 13-point second-half deficit Friday night at the T-Mobile Center, the fifth-seeded University of Miami men’s basketball team came all the way back to take down second-seeded Texas, 88-81, and reach the Final Four for the first time in program history.

No. 16/15 Miami (29-7, 15-5 ACC) overcome sensational 3-point shooting by No. 5/7 Texas with a blistering 59.2 clip from the field of its own. Fifth-year senior guard Jordan Miller paced the Midwest Region champions with a game-high 27 points on perfect shooting from the floor and the line.

The Hurricanes got off to a fast start and raced out to a 7-0 lead after just two minutes. The two sides exchanged baskets and then Texas (29-9, 12-6 B12) went on a 9-0 run in 2:37 to go in front, 11-9, with 14:23 on the clock.

After starting 9-of-21 from the floor, the Longhorns made eight of their final 10 shots of the half and built an eight-point edge, 45-37, entering the locker room. Texas shot 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from 3-point range in the opening frame and held Miami to just a 2-of-3 (66.7 percent) ledger, though the Hurricanes did go 16-of-25 (64.0 percent) overall.

The Longhorns hit four of their first five shots to open the frame and went up by a dozen, 53-41, with 17:24 to go. They pushed the advantage to a game-high 13, 62-49, with 14:24 after hitting their ninth 3-pointer on just 17 attempts, while Miami was just 2-of-4 at the other end.

The Hurricanes, though, did not go away and used a 9-0 run in 2:24 to go ahead, 73-72, with 5:26 remaining. After Texas’ 10th 3-pointer of the night, Miami scored the next four points to go up by two, 77-75, with 3:57 to play.

Miami extended its margin to six, 85-79, with 23 seconds left and the Longhorns never got any closer than four, as the Hurricanes claimed the seven-point win. The victors shot 13-of-14 from the stripe in the last four minutes, including 7-of-8 in the last 34 ticks.

The Hurricanes shot 29-of-49 from the field, posting a clip of at least 54.0 percent in each half. They also went 28-of-32 (87.5 percent) from the line to counteract the 2-of-8 (25.0 percent) mark from beyond the arc.

Miller’s 27 points, his most in two years as a Hurricane and tied for the fourth-most in program history in NCAA Tournament play, came on 7-of-7 shooting from the field and a 13-of-13 mark from the line. Sophomore guard Wooga Poplar totaled 16 points, shooting 6-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 at the stripe.

Third-year sophomore guard Nijel Pack, the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region MVP, tallied 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong added 15 points, while third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier amassed 11 points and nine rebounds despite foul trouble.

Graduate student guard Marcus Carr paced Texas with 17 points, but Miami limited him to 6-of-15 shooting. Senior forward Timmy Allen recorded 16 points before fouling out, while graduate student guard Sir’Jabari Rice notched 15.

The Hurricanes will now play fourth-seeded UConn, ranked No. 10/12 nationally, Saturday at 8:49 p.m. ET in the Final Four, live on CBS From NRG Stadium in Houston.

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