Miami fights back late to avoid upset against Drake



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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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Nijel Pack #24 of the Miami Hurricanes handles the ball against the Drake Bulldogs during the first half during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. 

Nijel Pack #24 of the Miami Hurricanes handles the ball against the Drake Bulldogs during the first half during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York.  (Isaiah Vazquez/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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.

Nijel Pack #24 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates after a basket in the second half against the Drake Bulldogs during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York.

Nijel Pack #24 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates after a basket in the second half against the Drake Bulldogs during the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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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.

The Miami Hurricanes huddle against the Drake Bulldogs during the second half during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. 

The Miami Hurricanes huddle against the Drake Bulldogs during the second half during the first round of the 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York.  (Isaiah Vazquez/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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BIG PICTURE:

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.

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