Miami (24-10) came into the NCAA Tournament as the only team from the state of Florida. It remains that way, as the No. 10 seed Hurricanes upset No. 7 seed USC (26-8) 68-66 in the First Round of the Midwest region Friday.
USC senior guard Drew Peterson had a chance to create madness, getting his three-point buzzer beating attempt off just in time before the clock hit zero. The bank, however, was not open and the Trojans take an early exit after going on a run to the Elite Eight in 2021.
Miami, meanwhile, clinches a spot in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016 under head coach Jim Larrañaga. The Hurricanes face no easy task, a matchup with No. 2 seed Auburn (28-5) on Sunday.
The two teams battled throughout much of the second half, with USC clawing back after going into the half down 31-20. Remarkably, Miami shot 1-of-14 from behind the arc, but still managed to pull out the victory. The difference? Turnovers — as USC gave away the rock 18 times to Miami’s three.
Third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong had the best day for the Hurricanes, scoring 22 points on 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
Senior guard Kameron McGusty, who led Miami in scoring entering Friday, had an off night from the field. McGusty scored 12 points on 5-of-18 from the field with five rebounds.
While Miami was able to hold on against USC, they’ll need a more inspiring performance from McGusty and the entire team from downtown to keep up with head coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers, who held Jacksonville State to 31.1% from the field Friday.
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