Miami basketball earns critical ACC victory at Wake Forest

Feb 9, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami basketball team earned victory after trailing by double figures to defeat Wake Forest 76-72 on Saturday. Miami outscored Wake Forest 43-32 in the second half. The Hurricanes had to rally from a 13 point first-half deficit before entering halftime trailing 40-33. Kameron McGusty led Miami with 22 points.

Isaiah Wong scored 20. McGusty and Wong both made key shots late to secure the victory for Miami. Miami improves to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in the ACC with the victory. The Hurricanes are a half-game behind Duke and Notre Dame tied for third in the ACC with North Carolina. Miami is in position for an ACC Tournament double-bye.

The top four teams in the ACC receive double-byes to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The Miami basketball team still has an excellent chance to win the ACC regular-season title. The Hurricanes own the tiebreakers with Duke and North Carolina but lost to Notre Dame in the teams-only meeting.

Miami forced 17 Wake Forest turnovers with 11 coming on steals. Miami committed only seven turnovers. The Hurricanes had a 19-0 advantage in points off turnovers. Miami shot 51.7 percent and made seven of 18 three-point shots. Wake Forest shot 54.9 percent and made nine of its 21 three-point attempts.

Miami held Wake Forest to 2-8 on threes in the second half. Alondes Williams led Wake Forest with 25. Williams scored 16 in the second half. McGusty did a good job defensively on Williams. Williams had three rebounds and four assists but also committed seven turnovers. No Hurricanes had more than one turnover.

Miami closed the first half on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit from 13 to seven. Williams made a three to open the second half to stretch the Wake Forest lead to 10. Miami rallied and finally tied the score at 52 with 11:08 remaining in the game. That was part of a 10-0 Miami run to take their first lead of the game.

The game remained tight throughout before the heroics by McGusty and Wong late. Wong continued to excel in the second half with 14 points. Sam Waardenburg finished with eight of his 12 points in the second half and McGusty scored 10 in the final 20 minutes. Miami earns its second straight win with the victory.

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The Hurricanes will play its second straight road game on Saturday when they travel to Louisville on Wednesday. Louisville recently fired head coach Chris Mack. The Cardinals are an uncharacteristic 11-13 overall and 5-9 in the ACC. Miami returns home next Saturday to host Virginia.