The No. 3 seed Miami Hurricanes had to fight for their 65-57 win over No. 11 Wichita State Shockers. After jumping out to a 21-point first half lead, the Hurricanes survived and were the first team to advance to next week’s Sweet 16. While the Hurricanes made it look easy early, they had to make winning plays to knock out the Shockers on Saturday.
It was billed as one of the best point guard match ups of the day. Angel Rodriguez played like he had something to prove against Fred VanVleet and the Shockers. Rodriguez scored a career high 28 points in the second round win for the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, VanVleet led the Shockers with 12 points in his final game.
When the Shockers need some explosive scoring, they weren’t able to muster up consistent play. Ron Baker scored 11 points in his final game. He had as many turnovers (4) as baskets. Yet, Baker gave Wichita State their first and only lead on a 3-point shot. The Shockers turned a 27-6 deficit into a 43-42 lead, and Miami could have folded.
Instead, the Hurricanes made winning plays. They instantly turned the tables with a 5-0 run to take the lead for good. The Hurricanes turned a blocked shot into a Rodriguez to Sheldon McClellan alley-oop. Moments later, Davon Reed scored, then he had the play of the game. With the Hurricanes up by four, Reed had a block and 3-point play to push the lead to 55-48.
After playing in the First Four, then a night game on Thursday, the Shockers never found their footing in a sluggish first half. They started the game 1 for 10 from the field, and the Shockers finished the first half shooting 7 for 29. That equates to 24 percent. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes shot 12 of 20 from the field, for an 80 percent clip. However, it was the defense that gave Miami a chance to move on.
The Hurricanes dominated the early portion of the game. Rodriguez came out of the gate, scoring the Hurricanes’ first seven points of the contest. He finished the half with 16 points on 7-7 shooting. However, he disappeared from the offense during the Shockers’ comeback.
With the Hurricanes leading 32-19 at the half, the Shockers didn’t have much success on offense. Fred VanVleet led the Shockers with six first half points. Ron Baker hit the Shockers only 3-point shot in the first half.
McClellan and Reed joined Rodriguez in double figures with 18 and 10 points respectively. Shaq Morris scored 12 points for the Shockers.
The Hurricanes play the winner of Villanova and Iowa in the Sweet 16.