Jordan Miller pitches perfect games to send Miami to first ever Final Four | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / May 20.
  • Jordan Miller pitches perfect games to send Miami to first ever Final Four

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    By SAM LANCE

    KANSAS CITY — It’s really hard to be perfect in the game of basketball, but Jordan Miller was pretty much flawless for Miami in its 88-81 comeback win over Texas in the Elite Eight on Sunday night.

    Miller, the 6-foot-7 senior guard from Middleburg (VA), touted a game-high 27 points and didn’t miss a single shot from the field (7-of-7) or the free throw line (13-of-13). Miller also iced the game down the stretch by drilling both pairs of free throws with under 30 seconds left to keep Texas out of reach.

    “The game Jordan Miller had is ridiculous,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said postgame. “That’s pretty good to score 27 points on seven shots.”

    While Miller’s perfect performance may have surprised some, Larrañaga knew he was capable of these types of big time performances.

    “I’ve said it all season long, he’s the most underrated player in the country” Larranaga said. “Because he’s good at everything, He can rebound. He defends all different-sized guys. Today he was switching ball screens at the end and keeping the guy in front of him. He makes all of his free throws. He is a great, great player. Simple.”

    Miami was shooting over 60 percent in the first half and still trailed Texas by eight points heading into the break. At the 14:24 mark of the second half, Texas extended the lead even further to 13 points, and Larrañaga was forced to take a time out.

    Oddly enough, the Hurricanes field goal percentage continued to rise as they continued to fall behind. But the Hurricanes refused to go away.

    “I said to them, ‘We just need to calm down and play better. There’s no big secret in this. We’re very good, but we’ve got to play very good.'”

    After that huddle, Miami started to secure some stops and get a few easy transition baskets at the rim. The Hurricanes slowly played their way back into striking distance.

    Then Miami went on its run.

    Sophomore guard Wooga Poplar and fourth-year junior Isaiah Wong sank back-to-back jump shots. The Hurricanes continued to get stops, and a few possessions later, third-year sophomore forward Norchad Omier converted an and-one to give Miami a 73-72 with 5:26 to play. It was Miami’s first lead since the 8:04 mark of the first half.

    “I don’t know if there was a point in the game where I thought we were going to win,” Miller said. “I was so determined to make sure. Anything can happen with how much time is left on the clock. Coach always preaches that. After the buzzer sounded, it felt surreal.”

    After that run to take the lead, Miller scored eight of Miami’s last 13 points from the charity stripe to secure the win.

    “None of us wanted to go home,” Miller said. “We just all bought into staying together, keeping that hope alive. And the way we just willed this one… I think it really shows the poise of this squad.”

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