Top Seed Houston Eliminated and Walker Declares for the NBA Draft

Fifth – seeded Miami past top-seeded Houston 89-75 in the Midwest Region semifinals on Friday night. Also this marks the final game of Houston freshman forward Jarace Walker who has declared for the 2023 NBA Draft. 

Walker had 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks when almost no one else could get anything going. After the game Walker said “I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much after a loss,” Walker says, still wearing his white No. 25 UH jersey sitting at his locker more than a half hour after the final buzzer. “Just knowing this was my last. We just got so close so quick. We had been through so much so fast.

“When I call these people my brothers, I really mean that.” Moments later, the 19-year-old who has much ahead of him adds: “I just cried my ass off.”

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. 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.

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. 

Miami ended the night at 51.7 percent from the floor, 11 – 25 beyond the arc. Houston shot 37.5 percent overall, 29 percent 9-31 from the three pointer.

Miami will take on number two seed Texas who beat Xavier 83-71 Sunday to see who will go to the final four.

Credit – Miami Hurricanes

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