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Wooga Poplar paces No. 24 Miami past La Salle

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Wooga Poplar shook off an injury scare to score a career-high 25 points as No. 24 Miami posted an 84-77 win over visiting La Salle on Saturday afternoon.

Norchad Omier collected 23 points and eight rebounds — including six on the offensive glass — for the Hurricanes (8-2).

Matthew Cleveland added 14 points and nine rebounds and Nijel Pack had 11 points and a team-high seven assists.

The Hurricanes improved to 17-1 in games after a loss over the past three seasons.

Poplar injured his left foot with 25 seconds left in the first half. He limped off the court but returned to start the second half.

For the game, Poplar made 9 of 16 shots, making several high-flying dunks and driving layups.

The game was a matchup between two veteran coaches, and the “younger” guy won as Miami’s Jim Larranaga, 74, defeated Fran Dunphy, 75. Combined, they have more than 1,300 wins.

La Salle (8-3) was led by Khalil Brantley, who scored 23 points. Daeshon Shepherd added 15 points and Jhamir Brickus added a game-high eight assists.

Miami trailed just once — at 2-0. The Hurricanes led by as many as 14 points early before settling for a 45-33 advantage at halftime.

A first-half highlight for La Salle was 6-foot-10 center Rokas Jocius making his first 3-pointer of the season, on his fifth try.

Poplar led all first-half scorers with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including two spectacular dunks. He was going for a third dunk when he came down wrong and hurt his foot.

For the first half, Miami outshot La Salle, 58 percent to 40 percent. The Hurricanes also had a 13-3 edge on fast-break points and 28-14 on paint points.

Miami got great news 15 seconds into the second half as Poplar scored on a pull-up jumper. Less than two minutes later, he proved his foot was fine as he soared for a dunk.

La Salle, after making three straight shots —two 3-pointers and a 3-point play — cut its deficit to 71-67 with 4:23 left in the second half.

But La Salle could get no closer, and Miami — which shot 51.7 percent from the floor — held on for the win.

For the game, Miami had an edge on paint points (48-30) and fast-break points (17-3). LaSalle, which shot 46.9 percent, stayed close by making more 3-pointers than Miami (11-4).

–Field Level Media

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