The Miami basketball team closed the first half on a 28-12 run and never looked back in a 101-60 season-opening win over NJIT. Wooga Poplar lived up to the praise he received throughout the offseason from Jim Larranaga leading Miami with 21 points. Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland was also impressive.
Cleveland showed he will be the perfect replacement for Jordan Miller with his versatile skill set. The former Seminole had 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Norchad Omier showed off his improved offensive game with 20 points, 10 rebounds, one block, three steals and by making both of his three-point attempts.
NJIT was competitive for just over half the first half. The Highlanders scored nine consecutive points after the Hurricanes led 22-9. Miami went on the 28-12 run after the NJIT rally to close out the first half. Adam Hess led NJIT with 14 points and made 3-10 three-point shots. Three-point shots were flying at the Watsco Center.
Miami made 12 of its 28 three-point attempts and NJIT was 9-30. The Hurricanes maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half. Miami had a 21-0 run while holding NJIT scoreless for five and a half minutes to extend the lead to 87-44. The Hurricanes hit the century mark with 1:01 remaining in the game.
Eight different Miami basketball players scored. Sophomore A.J. Casey was the most impressive reserve with eight points on three of five from the floor, four rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal. Center Michael Nwoko was the most productive freshman for Miami with nine points and three rebounds.
Miami will hold its banner-raising ceremony on Friday night when the Hurricanes host Central Florida. Central Florida hosted FIU in their season opener on Monday night. UCF finished 19-15 last season. The Knights have not made the NCAA Tournament since the 2018-19 season when they lost to Duke in the second round.