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His name resembles a classical music composer while a high strung basketball game showcases syncopation, various rhythms of offensive prowess and defensive ability.
Isaiah Robert-Johan Wong, raised in South Brunswick with a high school history of two years at Notre Dame High in Lawrenceville, followed by junior and senior years at Bonner & Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, scored a game-high 27 points and added eight rebounds as fifth-seed Miami ousted No. 4 seed Indiana, 85-69, in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament.
The Hurricanes (27-7) have reached Sweet 16 play for a second straight season and will face the region’s top seed, Houston, on Friday in Kansas City, Mo., in the semifinal.
Wong, a Third-team All-America and ACC Player of the Year, rebounded from a five-point performance in a first-round win against Drake. No fret or sweat as the 6-4 guard with a likely NBA future showcased his patented grinding court game.
“He’s fearless, I love coaching him,” coach Jim Larranaga said in a post-game interview. “I call him the most underrated player in the country, but he should not be underrated anymore. The guy is like an All-American.”
Hurricanes fans hold admiration for Wong who averaged 16.2 points; 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 steals in a starring role. Wong was a consistent shooter with 45.3% from the field, 38.5% from 3-point range, and 83.6% from the free throw line. Last year, when Miami earned an Elite 8 berth, Wong provided a tournament highlight with his thunderous dunk over Jabari Smith in a Hurricanes 79-61 second-round victory. Wong tested NBA waters but wisely returned for a senior season.
“It’s just an honor being part of this program, with the history we have,” Wong said in postgame interviews. “We have a great team this year and last year too, and I feel like it’s great to see how we came up. My first year we wasn’t as good, but for the last two years, we’re going to the Sweet 16, and last year the Elite Eight. I’m appreciative and I just love this team.”
Wong made 9 of 17 shots from the floor, 4 of 6 from 3, and sank all five of his free-throws. The 27 points tied for fourth-most by a Hurricane in a tournament game.
“I feel like I didn’t play to my full potential last game and my team gave me another chance to perform and I appreciate them for that,” Wong said.
“We won the game two days ago and today I performed well. I appreciate the team for helping me out, getting me passes and getting me in the rhythm.”
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