KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nijel Pack scored 26 points to lead fifth-seeded Miami past top-seeded Houston 89-75 in the Midwest Region semifinals on Friday night as the last of the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seeds was eliminated.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes (28-7) advanced to the Elite Eight on Sunday, when they will play the winner of Friday night’s second game between No. 2 Texas and No. 3 Xavier.
The 89 points were the most Houston has given up all season. The previous high was 77.
The Cougars (33-4) came into the game ranked second in Division I at 56.6 points allowed per game, but Miami stormed past that mark with 12:53 left in the game.
Houston was the last remaining No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament. With Alabama’s 71-64 loss earlier in the evening to San Diego State in the South Region semifinals, 2023 will be the first time since 2011 that no No. 1 seeds will reach the Final Four. Texas is the final No. 2 seed in the field.
Miami had a total of five players score in double figures. Besides Pack, Isaiah Wong had 20 points, Jordan Miller 13, Norchad Omier 12 and Wooga Poplar 11. Omier grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
Houston was led by Jarace Walker with 16 points. Jamal Shead added 15, and Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark each had 14.
Miami scored the first five points of the second half to open its largest lead to that point at 47-36. However, Shead’s first seven points of the game helped Houston climb back to within four points.
After Houston trimmed the deficit to two, Miami stretched the lead to 70-53 points thanks to three 3-pointers from Pack in a 19-4 run.
The Cougars could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
Miami took a 42-36 lead into halftime. Houston owned the nation’s best field goal percentage defense (36.1 percent), but it allowed the Hurricanes to shoot 46.9 percent (15-for-32) before the break, including 42.9 percent (6-for-14) from 3-point range.
Miami ended the night at 51.7 percent from the floor, 44 percent (11 of 25) from long distance. Houston shot 37.5 percent overall, 29 percent (9 of 31) from beyond the arc.
–David Smale, Field Level Media