The University of Miami men’s basketball team faced yet another heartbreak as they fell to the Syracuse Orange at the buzzer on Saturday afternoon. The final moments of the game saw Quadir Copeland’s dramatic 3-pointer as time expired, securing a 72-69 victory for the Orange and ultimately handing the Hurricanes their fourth loss in their last five games since defeating the then 16th-ranked Clemson Tigers on January 3rd at the Watsco Center.
Despite facing the challenge of playing without Norchad Omier, Miami’s head coach Jim Larrañaga commended his team’s resilience. “We missed our last shot, they made their last shot, and that’s the difference. One possession… It was a great college game,” Larrañaga remarked.
Nijel Pack led Miami with 19 points. Meanwhile, junior Matthew Cleveland recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Freshman Michael Nwoko, in his first career start, provided an early boost for the Hurricanes with back-to-back buckets, giving them an 8-2 advantage. However, the Orange responded, and the game remained closely contested throughout.
Miami showcased sharp three-point shooting in the second half, hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc. Despite their efforts, Syracuse managed to take the lead with just over three minutes remaining. The teams exchanged shots in the final moments, tying the game at 69-all with 18 seconds left.
The absence of key players like Norchad Omier, combined with foul trouble for Kyshawn George and Wooga Poplar, posed challenges for Miami. Syracuse’s J.J. Starling led his team with an impressive 22 points, making six of his 10 three-point attempts.
Despite Miami leading for a significant portion of the game, the inability to secure crucial stops late in the game proved costly. Syracuse’s efficient shooting, especially in the final minutes, contributed to the Hurricanes’ defeat.
In a nail-biting finish, Quadir Copeland sealed the victory for Syracuse with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The Hurricanes, now 12-6 overall and 3-4 in the ACC, look ahead to their next challenge on the road against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Wednesday, January 24th, at 7:00 P.M. EST.
As Miami regroups for their upcoming game against Notre Dame, the team reflects on the missed opportunities and aims to bounce back. With the season progressing, every game becomes more crucial in the competitive ACC landscape, and the margin for error becomes much smaller with Miami’s latest slump and their hopes of returning to the big dance in March for the NCAA Tournament.
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