CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Wooga Poplar overcame a slight ankle injury and scored a career-high 25 points to help No. 24 Miami beat La Salle 84-77 on Saturday.

Norchad Omier finished with 23 points and Matthew Cleveland had 14 for the Hurricanes (8-2). Nijel Pack was Miami’s fourth double-figure scorer with 11.

Poplar, who averages a team-leading 15.6 points, landed awkwardly on his left foot after an unsuccessful dunk attempt late in the first half. He immediately limped off the court but returned for layup drills before the second half.

“I don’t want to say scared but I was hoping that I was okay,” Poplar said. “I tried to dunk and it slipped out of my hand. Then I saw the ball not going out and I tried to rebound, stopped and my ankle just twisted. I’m good now.”

The injury scare didn’t deter Poplar. He scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the second half.

“I was just trying to end the business and get the W for us,” Poplar said.

Khalil Brantley scored 23 points and Daeshon Shepherd added 15 for the Explorers (8-3).

The Hurricanes shot 52% from the field and outrebounded the Explorers 26-18, including 13-7 on the offensive end.

“Expectations for us are so high,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We’re a Power 5 team in a Power 5 Conference trying to play Power 5 basketball with a very undersized team. It really takes a total team effort for us to get where we want.”

La Salle rallied from an 18-point deficit early in the second half and got within 71-67 on Andres Marrero’s 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining. Miami responded with six unanswered behind two free throws each by Poplar and Omier, along with a layup by Omier.

“We don’t have a lot of margin for error. We need to make everything we can when we’re at the rim,” Explorers coach Fran Dunphy said. “I thought our fight was good. We didn’t give up but they’re a good team. Grateful that we had a chance to come here and play against this program.”

Miami outscored La Salle 15-7 in the final 6:26 of the first half and led 45-33 at halftime. Omier scored six consecutive points during the run. Two jumpers and a dunk from Poplar in the first 3:03 of the second half increased Miami’s lead to 53-35.

Cleveland scored eight points during a game-opening 21-10 run. Cleveland’s layup with 12:06 remaining in the first half capped the spurt for Miami’s first double-digit lead.

“He really got us off to a great start,” Larrañaga said. “He was pushing it on the break. Very helpful when he does that.”

After missing their first seven 3-point attempts, the Explorers got within 30-26 on consecutive deep 3s by Rokas Jocius and Marrero.


The win was the Hurricanes’ sixth straight over the Explorers, giving them a 10-9 edge in the series. LaSalle last beat Miami 97-77 in 1970-71. Following the season, Miami suspended men’s basketball and restored the program in 1985-86.


La Salle: The Explorers finished 1-3 in nonconference road games. They will return home for three consecutive games before opening their Atlantic 10 road schedule at Fordham on Jan. 6.

Miami: After committing 20 turnovers in the 90-63 loss against Colorado on Sunday, the Hurricanes limited their mistakes to four in the first half. They had four in the opening five minutes of the second half and finished with 10 miscues.


La Salle: Hosts Rosemont College on Thursday.

Miami: Hosts Stonehill on Thursday.


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