Tanner Smith scored a game-high 23 points, but Clemson fell victim to a late 12-0 run as Miami pushed ahead of the Tigers by a 76-73 final at the BankUnited Center on Wednesday. The Hurricanes improved to 10-6 overall, 1-2 in the ACC. The Tigers fell to 9-9 overall, 1-3 in conference play.
Smith made 8-of-13 shots, including 4-of-7 from long distance, coupled
with a 3-for-4 effort at the charity stripe. He scored 18 of his points
in the opening half. He was supported by 11 points from freshman K.J.
McDaniels, who scored double figures for the first time since the UTEP
game in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic. He added five
rebounds, a block and a steal in 17 minutes. Catalin "Bobo" Baciu added
10 off the bench, matching his career-high. He made 4-of-7 field goals
and added three rebounds in a career-high 19 minutes of play.
The Tigers shot the ball well, connecting on 27-of-57 shots overall, but
missed all eight three-point attempts in the second half. Miami shot 51.9
percent, making 27 of 52 attempts. The Hurricanes made 9-of-20 from three
and 13-of-14 at the line, 92.9 percent. Miami had five players reach
double figures, led by 16 from Malcolm Grant and 14 from Kenny Kadji.
After Clemson built an early 8-6 lead, the Hurricanes rattled off 13
consecutive points before the first official timeout. Miami buried a pair
of trifectas during the run, one apiece for Grant and Durand Scott. Smith
stopped the bleeding with back-to-back three-pointers to bring the deficit
to five. Miami responded with a bucket inside by Kenny Kadji to make it
21-14 in favor of the Hurricanes with 11:44 left in the half.
Miami extended the lead to eight at 23-15, before the Tigers put together
a miniature 9-6 scoring run. Smith buried another pair of threes during
the spurt, including one from the corner at the 7:14 mark that pulled
Clemson to within five at 29-24. Minutes later, Clemson tied the game at
29 on Bryan Narcisse's third three-pointer of the season.
The Tigers took a 33-31 lead on an old fashioned three-point play by Smith
with 4:20 remaining. But, Kadji answered the call for the Hurricanes with
a string of eight straight points as Miami reclaimed a 37-35 lead. The
lead was extended to five at 42-37 before a pair of McDaniels free throws
made it a 42-39 halftime score. Both were first-half highs in a Clemson
game this season.
Reggie Johnson opened the second half with a pair of layups on the inside
to extend Miami's lead to 46-39. After a Brad Brownell timeout, the
Tigers responded with a 13-8 run punctuated by McDaniels' emphatic
one-handed dunk and the foul. He hit the free throw to pull Clemson
within two at 54-52. The Tigers were within one at 59-58 after Smith
scored a layup in transition.
Clemson took a three-point lead at 62-59 after back-to-back scores inside
by Baciu and Andre Young. The bucket by Baciu put the 7-foot-2 senior in
double digits for the second time in his career, and the first time since
the game versus South Carolina on Dec. 4. A shot clock beating three by
Trey McKinney Jones pulled the Hurricanes to within one at 64-63, and then
Miami went ahead 65-64 on two freebies from Kadji. A crazy exchange
followed, where Grant claimed a loose ball rebound in the corner to push
the lead to 68-64.
The 12-0 run was capped on a layup by Scott with 3:25 remaining.
McDaniels broke a four-minute scoring drought with a tip-in that pulled
the Tigers to within six at 72-66. Another three-point play by Smith
brought the Tigers within five at 74-69, and Milton Jennings followed with
a pair from the charity stripe 30 seconds later to make it a
After a Miami turnover, Jennings made a follow shot underneath with 5.8
seconds left. Clemson fouled freshman Shane Larkin, who calmly sank two
free throws to make it 76-73. The Tigers turned the ball over on their
final possession, ending the game.
The Tigers return home to Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 21 to take
on Georgia Tech. The game will tip off at 2:30 PM and will be televised
by the ACC Network.
Clemson rally falls short
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