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Isaiah Wong, No. 16 Miami aim to rebound vs. Boston College

Jan 4, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Isaiah Wong (2) shoots against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the first half at McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Sixteenth-ranked Miami will be looking to bounce back from a rare loss when it plays host to Boston College in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Wednesday night.

The Hurricanes (13-2, 4-1) are powered by Isaiah Wong, who leads the team in scoring (16.3), assists (4.3) and steals (1.9).

Wong, however, scored just six points on 1-for-11 shooting — including 0-for-8 from 3-point range — in Miami’s 76-70 loss at Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

“We’re a team that relies on good balance in our attack, especially Isaiah, who is so good at scoring the ball,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. “He had a bad night. He is entitled to a bad night every once in a while.”

The balance Larranaga referenced also includes Jordan Miller (14.7 points per game and 5.9 rebounds), Norchad Omier (14.0 ppg, team-high 9.5 rpg) and Nijel Pack (12.0 ppg.). Pack also leads Miami with 28 made 3-pointers.

Omier, however, fouled out against Georgia Tech. In fact, he only played seven first-half minutes due to foul trouble. Staying on the court will be a priority for him against Boston College.

Miami’s fifth starter is Wooga Poplar, who had six steals against Georgia Tech. He splits time with Bensley Joseph, who is the Hurricanes’ “best on-ball defender,” according to Larranaga.

So, either way, Miami is getting good defense from that fifth spot, and Poplar and Joseph combine to average 13.7 points. Joseph leads Miami’s rotation regulars with 39.5-percent shooting on 3-pointers. Poplar makes 61.1 percent of his two-pointers.

Meanwhile, Boston College (8-8, 2-3) is coming off an impressive week, beating Notre Dame, 70-63, before losing in a close game against Duke, 65-64.

Quinten Post scored a team-high 16 points against Duke, playing 26 minutes off the bench. He made 6-of-13 shots, including 2-of-4 on 3-pointers, in just his third game of the season.

Eagles coach Earl Grant said the return of Post and 6-6, 225-pound freshman wing Prince Aligbe from recent injuries have boosted the team.

“With Quinten and Prince out, we didn’t have our team,” Grant said. “We were relying on ball movement to get defenses out of position. We were scoring by committee, and we’re still in that mode until we get into form.”

Aligbe, a four-star recruit, is averaging 7.5 points to force his way into the starting lineup. Boston College’s double-digit scorers are Makai Ashton-Langford (11.8), Post (11.3) and Jaeden Zachery (10.8).

Ashton-Langford, who is in his sixth college season, brings leadership to the starting rotation. He is the team’s point guard, but fellow starter Zachery actually leads the team in assists (2.3).

Zachery has also impressed Grant with his strength.

“We’re encouraging him to be aggressive,” Grant said of Zachery, who is shooting just 27.1 percent on 3-pointers. “If he’s not making shots from the perimeter, there are a lot of other things he can do, drive to the rim, get steals and rebounds.”

The Eagles’ other two starters are DeMarr Langford Jr. (7.1 points) and T.J. Bickerstaff (6.1 points, 6.5 rebounds). Langford, who averaged 11.3 points last season, flirted with the NBA before returning to the Eagles.

Boston College has lost three straight games against Miami, including a 71-69 overtime defeat in last year’s ACC tournament.

–Field Level Media