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With the score tied with just under six minutes to play, Miami scored on its next seven possessions to pull away and get the 83-77 victory over Clemson at Saturday afternoon Littlejohn Coliseum.
The win moves the Hurricanes to 15-7 overall and 6-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and that much closer to gaining an NCAA Tournament berth after being predicted to finish last in the league.
Clemson, meanwhile, drops to 11-12 overall and 2-9 in the ACC. The Tigers must win four of their last six to become eligible. And with games remaining at North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Maryland, that's a daunting task to say the least.
"It's going to be tough," said Clemson guard Shawan Robinson, who led his team with 21 points. "We've got to win now. We can't lose and then say we've got to win four of our next five, or win our last four. We have to win now."
Rising to the occasion for the Hurricanes were their guards Robert Hite, Guillermo Diaz and Anthony Harris, who combined to score 53 points on 19-of-37 shooting. Hite led all scorers with 24 points.
"The thing about it is that they all weren't 3-pointers," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "Those guys have done that all year. That's who we are. When they play well, we play well."
Miami shot 58.2 percent for the game from the field, including a blistering 67.7 percent in the second half.
In 11 conference games this year, the Tigers have allowed their opponents to shot 55.3 percent from the field in the second half.
"I believe we guarded them pretty well," Robinson said. "But they hit some tough shots. And when they missed a shot, they got an offensive rebound."
But it wasn't just the guard for Miami, which also got 14 points from forward Anthony King on 7-of-8 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, seven of which were offensive.
Clemson led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but it was held to just three points over the final five minutes to allow the Hurricanes to make it 35-31 by halftime. The Tigers were aided by Cheyenne Moore's four 3-pointers and the team's 10 offensive rebounds.
The Tigers pushed the lead back to eight at 48-40 with 15:12 left to play in the game, but that's' when Miami started its surge. The Hurricanes scored on six straight possessions to grab a four-point lead at 54-50 with 12:17 remaining.
After swapping the lead a couple of times, Miami put together its last big run with the score tied 65-65 with 4:54 to go.
"Maybe when a guy hits a big shot, (our players) think it's over. And it's not," Clemson forward Sharrod Ford said. "You've just got to keep playing until the game is over."
Clemson plays again Wednesday night against Georgia at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville.
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