No. 16 Miami will aim to solidify its spot near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings when it travels to Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday to face North Carolina State.
The Hurricanes (14-2, 5-1 ACC) are in second place, trailing only a surprisingly hot Clemson team. Miami came away with its only ACC loss last week when it fell 76-70 at Georgia Tech.
Miami bounced back Wednesday, topping Boston College 88-72 at home. Isaiah Wong led the Hurricanes with 22 points, while Jordan Miller had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists. Norchad Omier had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Key for Miami was its sharp shooting. The Hurricanes shot 60.4 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from 3-point range. The Hurricanes led by as many as 21 points.
“We played really good offense, both halves,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We shared the ball very well, guys made shots. It’s amazing how good you look when the ball goes in.”
It was the seventh double-double this season for Omier, who transferred to Miami after posting 17.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game at Arkansas State last season. Those stats helped him earn Sun Belt Player of the Year honors.
At 6-feet-7 from Nicaragua, Omier is averaging 13.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this season through 16 games, all of which he has started.
Larranaga and his staff have been working with Omier on avoiding fouls.
“Habits are very hard to break, and he has the habit of going after the ball,” Larranaga said. “So, some nights, he’s a terror on the backboards and great defensively, blocking shots, because he’s going after the ball. But there’s a part of the game where you have to have discipline. … Be smart and avoid the potential for a foul. He did that in the last 10 or 12 minutes of the game.”
Omier leads the Hurricanes in rebounding and blocks this season, and he is one of four Miami players averaging double digits in scoring. Wong leads the way in points with 16.3 per game.
Since losing at Miami 80-73 on Dec. 10, NC State (13-4, 3-3) has played extremely well, winning five of its last six games. That stretch included an 84-60 home win over then-No. 16 Duke on Jan. 4.
Most recently, NC State won at Virginia Tech this past Saturday 73-69. Terquavion Smith had 22 points while Jarkel Joiner added 21 points and eight rebounds. The Wolfpack won the rebounding battle 38-29 and scored 20 points off 11 Virginia Tech turnovers.
Since that loss to the Hurricanes last month, the Wolfpack haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 78 points.
“We’ve been able to put together three really good halves of basketball on the defensive end: the first and second halves in the Duke game and the first half at Virginia Tech (where) I thought we were really solid,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. “We’re getting better. That’s one of the things that we’ve really put a lot of work into.”
The all-time series between NC State and Miami is tied at 14-14, with the Hurricanes winning the last three.
–Field Level Media