Miami fights back late to avoid upset against Drake
Nijel Pack scored 21 points — including the go-ahead jumper and a pair of free throws in the final minute — to rally No. 5 seeded Miami past Drake 63-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night.
The Hurricanes (26-7) scored the final 10 points barely getting past 12th-seeded Drake only a year after reaching the Elite Eight.
Norchad Omier added 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Hurricanes, who won despite being held to a season-low 63 points. Wooga Poplar had 15 points.
Darnell Brodie had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Drake (27-8). The Missouri Valley Conference tournament champions were outscored 16-1 over the final 4:29 and 10-0 in the last 2:28. The Bulldogs missed their last seven shots from the field and were scoreless the final 3:24.
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Mo Valley Player of the Year Tucker DeVries, whose father is the coach, scored three points on 1 of 13 shooting.
Miami will face the game winner between fourth-seeded Indiana (22-11) and 13th-seeded Kent State in the second round of the Midwest Region.
Brodie tied the game at 47 with a free throw, and then Calhoun hit two consecutive 3-pointers in an 8-0 run that Roman Penn capped with a jumper for a 55-47 lead with 5:40 to go.
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Miami, which only made 17 field goals in the game, found a way to pick up its defense and make things happen. Pack started the rally with a jumper and Poplar hit two free throws and a jumper to close the deficit to 55-53 with 3:34 to play.
After Penn scored the Bulldogs’ final point on a free throw with 3:24 left Jordan Miller hit two free throws, and Bensley Joseph made one to tie the contest at 56 with 2:20 to play.
Pack, who was 7 of 15 from the field, put Miami ahead for good with his jumper off a turnover.
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Drake: The Bulldogs had this one won until they got ice-cold at the end.
Miami: The Hurricanes looked disconnected offensively all night, but they will have to improve to get back to another Elite Eight.