Miami braced themselves for a storm in the second half to beat the Texans at home NCAA Midwest Regional Final and advancing to the Final Four for the first time in men’s basketball program history.
Miami won Game 88-81 and will face UConn for a shot at a national championship.
The Hurricanes needed the ball to bounce in the second half to win the game and got a break with about a minute left in the game. Norchad Ommier fought for an offensive rebound with Brooke Cunningham and it was the Longhorn forward who was called out for a foul.
O’Mere then hit two key free throws to put the Hurricanes up by two points, 81-79. He then poked the ball wide on the other end forcing Longhorns goaltender Marcus Carr to lose the ball. Miami recovered and Isaiah Wong was fouled and made two free throws to give Miami four points.
The Hurricanes fell eight points in the first half. Miami used a 13-2 run to take the lead with 5:26 left in the second half and effectively get back into the game and pressure the Longhorns to make powerful shots consistently.
Jordan Miller led the Miami team with 27 points. It was 7-of-7 from the field and 13-of-13 from the free throw line. Wuga Poplar scored 16 points and six rebounds. Omer scored 11 points and nine rebounds. Nigel Buck put up 15 points and Wong finished with 14.
The Texans were up for the challenge and answered the challenge the Hurricanes put on them with the remaining five minutes of the game. Missing a few key shots in the end sank the Longhorns at long range.
Carr drove Texas with 17 points and six assists as Timmy Allen had 16 points and four rebounds. Sir Gabri Rice had 15 points off the bench.
It would be Miami’s first Final Four. But it will be the second for coach Jim Larrañaga. He led head coach George Mason to a national championship appearance in 2006.
The men’s final four will consist of San Diego State vs. Florida Atlantic and Yukon vs. Miami. The Games will be held on April 1 and the National Championship will be held on April 3.