Freshman guard Lonnie Walker scored 19 points, senior guard Ja’Quan Newton added 16 off the bench and redshirt freshman forward Sam Waardenburg hit three crucial 3-pointers in the second half as Miami held off pesky Wake Forest 87-81 in Atlantic Coast Conference action Wednesday night in Coral Gables, Fla.
The Hurricanes (18-5, 7-4 ACC) trailed the Demon Deacons (9-15, 2-10) just past the midpoint of the second half but led by 13 with less than three minutes remaining before holding off Wake Forest’s comeback bid.
Wake Forest guard Bryant Crawford led all scorers with 23 points and guard Chaundee Brown added 20 for the Deacons.
Waardenburg finished with a career-high 12 points.
Miami went to the locker room up only 35-31 at the halftime break after holding a 10-point advantage, 32-22, with just over five minutes left in the period. But the Hurricanes made only one of their last five field-goal attempts and turned the ball over three times in the remaining time.
Free throws gave the Hurricanes their lead. They were 6 of 8 from the line while the Deacons didn’t have an opportunity in the first half. Miami finished the game 26 of 37 from the stripe to Wake Forest’s 10 of 15.
The Deacons needed just over three minutes in the second half to get their deficit down to 38-37 and with the Hurricanes beginning to struggle from the field managed to work their way to a 46-44 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
Miami was only 3 of 12 from the field in the second half to that point. Wake Forest was 6 of 12.
Waardenburg’s 3-pointer and Newton’s three free throws gave Miami the lead back 50-46 at the 9:52 mark.
Wake Forest wasn’t done, pulling to within a point at 54-53. But guard Chris Lykes followed two free throws with a steal and feed to Newton for a breakaway dunk and Waardenburg nailed a corner 3 to give the Hurricanes some breathing room at 61-53 with 6:36 remaining.
—Field Level Media