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Kameron McGusty and Miami jumped into passing lanes, challenged Iowa State’s shots and generally made life pretty tough for the Cyclones.
It turns out the Hurricanes also play defense – at the Elite level.
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McGusty scored 27 points and Miami advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time, earning a 70-56 win over Iowa State 70-56 in Friday night’s NCAA Tournament.
Jordan Miller added 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting as No. 10 seed Miami more than held on in a clash of two of the tournament’s stingiest teams. The 11th-seeded Cyclones shot 32% from the field in the second half and finished with 18 turnovers.
“I can’t help but smile. It’s just crazy,” Miller said with a smile. “I love these guys.”
With Charlie Moore leading the offense in his hometown, the Hurricanes (26-10) picked up their first victory in the school’s fourth appearance in the Sweet 16. Next up is the No. 1 seed in the Kansas — a 66-61 winner over Providence — on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.
“The guys did a great job from start to finish. I’m very, very excited for them,” said Miami coach Jim Larrañaga, who led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. an incredible group. They only won today because they beat a very good opponent.”
Much was made of Iowa State’s dogged defense after the Cyclones (22-13) shut down LSU and Wisconsin in the first two rounds, advancing to the Midwest Region semifinals after school picked up only two wins last season. But Iowa State struggled at times to stay ahead of McGusty and company, and the Hurricanes’ athleticism also bothered the Cyclones when they had the ball.
Iowa State forced 14 turnovers after Miami turned it over just seven times combined in its previous two games, but the Hurricanes shot 46% from the field. The Cyclones allowed 33.3% shooting in their first two tournament games.
“They did a better job than us in terms of disruptions and turnovers,” Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger said. “They also made timely shots when we were shopping.”
Gabe Kalscheur scored 13 points for Iowa State, and rookie Tyrese Hunter had 13 points and seven assists. Izaiah Brockington finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
“It was a special run,” said senior forward George Conditt IV.
The Cyclones shot within one on Kalscheur’s jumper with 16:28 to go. But the Hurricanes responded with a 10-2 run. Isaiah Wong’s 3-pointer – one of nine of the night for Miami – made it 46-37 with 12:23 to go.
Iowa State made a few charges on the stretch, but McGusty made a 3 and converted a layup to help Miami respond each time. When Sam Waardenburg connected from deep and Miller fired two foul shots to make it 60-46 with 2:47 to go, the celebration was on for the Hurricanes.
Waardenburg had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Moore scored each of his seven points in the second half and finished with nine assists.
“It means a lot,” McGusty said. “I see it as a new base for our basketball program.”
Moore was back in Chicago after playing for Morgan Park in high school and playing for DePaul during a college career that also included stops in California and Kansas. Conditt was also able to play in his hometown during his senior season.
Moore set up Miller for a pair of layups while helping Miami take a 32-29 halftime lead. Conditt had eight points at halftime, including a big stuffing on Waardenburg and a rebound dunk.
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McGusty, a sixth-year senior in a redshirt, was 10 of 18 from the field. He also had six rebounds and four of Miami’s 11 steals.
Iowa State: It was the Cyclones’ first loss in 16 non-conference games. They didn’t have enough playmakers to keep up with Miami, especially in the second half.
Miami: No stranger to March success, Larrañaga plays his Hurricanes with poise and confidence. Their ranking is only one better than George Mason’s in his extraordinary 2006 run.