Sam Waardenburg posted his first career double-double with a 11 rebounds and a career high 15 points as the Miami Hurricanes capped off the non-conference slate of the season with a 91-60 win over Coppin State on Saturday.
Waardenburg’s 11 rebounds tied a career high and he set a new high in made field goals and tied his top mark in made 3-pointers, finishing 6-of-8 and 3-of-5, respectively.
“In his first few years, he struggled in November and December and played great after the new year,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “I don’t know what it is. I think it’s heading into the new year and he’s getting there sooner.”
“Last two days I missed some free throws and wasn’t happy with it, so I shot 700 free throws yesterday and it helped me with my shot, holding my follow through,” Waardenburg said. “My teammates are always telling me to shoot the ball, that it makes their job easier, so I had that mindset.”
Kam McGusty posted a career-high 28-point performance on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from the three point line, and 5-of-6 free throws.
“I think he was very ready to play and very ready to shoot the ball,” Larrañaga said of McGusty. “When you make a three and then the same shot materializes the very next time down the court, well of course you’re going to look for it again and when you make it you feel like ‘Oh I’ve got the hot hand.’ Then you hit another and another. He made [three] in a row and that not only gets him going, but the whole team.”
“It goes back to the team chemistry we have,” McGusty said. “I’m just trying to give it my all and make that off year, this transfer year, worth it.”
The Hurricanes led as much as 40 points and set a season high mark of 91 points and a program record 18 made three point shots. Chris Lykes scored 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting including four three-pointers. DJ Vasiljevic added 21 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
“For 35 minutes it was our best offensive and defensive game,” Larranaga said. “The last five wasn’t indicative the way the team played. We took 38 3s which is kind of ridiculous to me, but we made 18 so we got to be pretty happy about that. We defended so well for such a long period of time, giving up only 45 points in the first 35 minutes. Love to see that kind of execution every game.”
The Hurricanes have won four in a row and enter their conference slate with an 8-3 record. They are already in the hole at 0-1 after losing their season opener to Louisville, which was ranked No. 5 at the time and rose to No. 1 at one point.
“We won four in a row but the challenge in the ACC is team we’re going to play now are really a whole lot more talented,” Larranaga said. “They got really good players and they’re more familiar with us; we’re more familiar with them. The challenges are greater. We open the season on the road against Clemson where it’s very tough to play and then we come back home to play Duke, who’s top 5 in the country and we’re already 0-1, having lost to the No. 1 team in the country Louisville back then.”