Despite getting Wooga Poplar back after missing the last two games, the Miami basketball team lost to Louisville 80-71 as a 15.5-point favorite at the Watsco Center on Wednesday night. Louisville entered the game ranked 232nd in the NCAA Netratings and had 22 consecutive road losses.
Louisville last won a road game 67-64 at Georgia Tech on January 2, 2022. After leading 41-37 at halftime, Miami extended their lead to 51-43 by outscoring Louisville 10-6 to start the second half. Miami had its largest lead at 56-47 with 14:10 remaining in the game. Louisville outscored Miami 33-15 from that point on.
Miami shot 27.8 percent from the floor and 3-16 on threes in the second half. Louisville took its first lead of the game 61-60, with 8:36 remaining. The Cardinals pushed the lead to 66-61 before Miami tied it. Louisville regained its five-point lead at 71-66. Miami battled back to tie the game at 71 on an alley-oop dunk by Matthew Cleveland.
Those were the last points of the game for Miami. The Hurricanes went scoreless over the final 3:28 as Louisville went on a 9-0 run. Miami allowed Louisville to shoot 49 percent and make 10 of their 23 three-point attempts. The Hurricanes finished the game shooting 39 percent and made 11-34 three-point attempts.
Cleveland led Miami with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Louisville had the goal of limiting Nochad Omier. Omier finished with nine points on 3-5 from the floor with seven rebounds. Wooga Poplar had 18 points on 6-15 from the floor and 4-7 three-point attempts. Bensley Joseph and Nijel Pack combined to shoot 5-22 from the floor and 4-16 on threes.
Louisville was led by Mike James who had 26 points on 8-12 from the floor, 5-6 threes and 5-6 free throws. James scored 16 points early to get Louisville off to a great start. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield completely outplayed Omier with 22 points on 9-13 from the floor and nine rebounds.
At 6'10 and 246 pounds, Huntley-Hatfield towered over the 6'7 Omier. Curtis Williams was the third Cardinal in double figures with 13. Miami allowed 80 points for the third straight game. Virginia Tech will host Miami at 7 PM ET on Saturday. The Hurricanes will attempt to avoid a three-game losing streak.