Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Miami seeks payback for last year's loss to UCF

Field Level Media
27 Nov 2022, 08:40 GMT+10

The Miami Hurricanes will be out for revenge.

Miami (5-1) will visit UCF (5-1) on Sunday night in Orlando, Fla.

The Hurricanes lead this series 8-3. However, UCF won at Miami last season 95-89. It was the most points scored by UCF since 2015.

"UCF is a really good team," Miami guard Nijel Pack said this week.

Indeed, the Knights have won five straight since starting the season with a double-overtime loss to UNC Asheville.

During the win streak, UCF owns a 14-point victory over Florida State. UCF also rallied from a 17-point deficit to defeat Oklahoma State in a neutral-court game in the Bahamas.

Leading UCF this season is Taylor Hendricks, a 6-foot-9 true freshman who grew up less than one hour north of Miami and went to Fort Lauderdale's Calvary Christian.

Hendricks tops UCF in minutes (32.7), points (15.8), rebounds (7.3) and blocks (2.0).

The Knights are coming off a 76-56 win over Evansville in the Bahamas. It was the fifth straight game that UCF held its opponent under 60 points.

Even so, UCF was forced to play Evansville without two starters due to injuries: 7-foot center Michael Durr and 6-foot-8 forward C.J. Walker, an Oregon transfer.

The injuries have forced UCF coach Johnny Dawkins to adjust.

"(True freshman Thierno) Sylla is having to log more minutes," Dawkins said.

Sylla, who is 6-11, is filling in for Durr, a University of South Florida transfer.

UCF's oldest veterans are Durr, Walker, Massachusetts transfer C.J. Kelly, Pitt transfer Ithiel Horton and Utah transfer Lahat Thioune. Kelly is second on the team in scoring (11.3) and Horton is third (10.3).

Meanwhile, Miami had faced a fairly soft schedule before getting drilled by Maryland, 88-70, last Sunday. Maryland is the only school from a Power Five conference Miami has played.

The Hurricanes are led in scoring by Isaiah Wong (14.3); Norchad Omier (14.0); Jordan Miller (13.7); Pack (12.5) and Wooga Poplar (8.2). Those have been Miami's five starters for all six of its games.

Omier leads the team in rebounds (10.2) and blocks (1.0), and Wong tops the squad in steals (2.3).

The Hurricanes are not getting much from their freshman class, including forward A.J. Casey (1.8 scoring average).

But Casey is not worried.

"I'm adjusting really well," he said. "I have a lot of guys supporting me. I'm just looking to get wins."

--Field Level Media

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