Wooga Poplar scores 23 points to lead No. 13 Miami to 88-72 win over UCF
CORAL GABLES — Wooga Poplar scored 23 points to lead No. 13 Miami to an 88-72 win over UCF on Friday night.
Poplar, a junior guard, shot 6 for 8 from the field and was perfect on five 3-point attempts.
Norchad Omier had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Bensley Joseph scored 15 points, Matthew Cleveland added 12 and Nijel Pack 11 for the Hurricanes (2-0), who never trailed.
The Knights (1-1) rallied from an 18-point deficit early in the second half and got to within six points at 68-62 on Demarr Langford Jr.’s jumper with 6: 11 remaining. But Miami countered with seven unanswered points, capped by Poplar’s 3-pointer with 3:51 remaining.
Jaylin Sellers finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Darius Johnson and Nils Machowski added 13 each for UCF.
Poplar had 11 points, including three 3s, as Miami built a 30-16 lead with 7:40 remaining in the first half. Poplar sat out the final 6:35 of the half after committing his second foul.
Before the game, there was a brief ceremony commemorating the Hurricanes’ run to the Final Four last season. The ceremony’s highlight was the raising of the Final Four banner.
UCF: The Knights’ nonconference schedule in their first season as a Big 12 member features six games against Florida schools. After facing Florida International and Miami to start the season, UCF has remaining dates with Stetson, Jacksonville, Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman. Missing is former American Athletic Conference and nearby rival South Florida.
Miami: Philadelphia high school senior guard Jalil Bethea heads the list of highly rated recruits who signed letters of intent Wednesday to attend Miami. Multiple recruiting services consider Miami’s signing of Bethea, Minneapolis, forward Isaiah Johnson-Arigu and guard Austin Swarz, of Concord, North Carolina, a top-10 national class.
Central Florida: Hosts Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.
Miami: Completes its season-opening three-game homestand against Florida International on Monday.