"It's better to be 1-and-2 than be 0-and-3, I can tell you that," coach Jim Larranaga said. "I'll sleep a little better tonight --maybe three hours instead of none."
Balance was the key word. Guard Malcolm Grant led Miami in scoring with 16 points but right behind him was forward Kenny Kadji with 14, guard Trey McKinney-Jones with 12, and guard Durand Scott with 10. Guard/forward DeQuan Jones added 10 off the bench.
Scott and Grant both had four assists each, and McKinney-Jones, guard Shane Larkin, and center Reggie Johnson had three apiece. By winning, the Hurricanes avoided falling into an early 0-3 hole in the league for the first time since they joined the ACC in the 2004-05 season.
They also gave themselves the chance to get back to .500 in the league for the first since they were 1-1 in the conference in the 2009-10 season.
The Hurricanes will be looking to end a two-game losing streak in the series with the Wolfpack. They have lost four of the last six meetings over the last four seasons with both of the wins coming in the ACC Tournament.
--Junior G Trey McKinney-Jones had one of his best all-around games in recent outings with his 12 points against Clemson, his first game in double figures since getting 11 points against UNC-Greensboro in Miami's last non-conference game on Jan. 2. He had gone scoreless in the road losses at Virginia and North Carolina to open ACC play, going a combined 0-of-4 from the field (0-of-2 on three-pointers) and not getting to the line. He also had three assists and two steals against Clemson against four turnovers.
--Sophomore F Kenny Kadji's unusual three-point streak continues. He is 10-of-13 from behind the arc in Miami's road games, but dropped to 0-of-8 at Miami's BankUnited Center after missing both of his attempts in the home win over Clemson.
--Freshman G Shane Larkin had only two points against Clemson, but they came on the two biggest free throws of the game. Put on the floor to handle the ball in the closing seconds and because he is a good free throw shooter, he stepped to the line with 5.4 seconds left in the game and Miami up by one. He knocked down both, giving Miami a three-point cushion that proved to be the final margin.
BY THE NUMBERS: 24.2 -- Miami was only 8-of-33 from three-point range (24.2 percent) in its first two league games after shooting 39.0 percent from behind the arc in non-conference play.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Whether you're either a player or a coach, you want to play against the best and coach against the best. When you play in the ACC or coach in the ACC, that's exactly what you have to do, and you have to do it every single night." -- First-year Miami coach Jim Larranaga, on his first ventures into ACC competition.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
--vs. North Carolina State, Jan. 22
KEY MATCHUPS: The Wolfpack was still finding its way under first-year coach Mark Gottfried, who was dealing the depth issues. Junior G Scott Wood was the leading three-point shooter in the league (43.3 percent) through the weekend, and F Richard Howell was having a monster season on the boards, averaging 9.3 at that point.
STAR WATCH: Senior G Malcolm Grant had his strongest performance since missing two games in late December to return home to Brooklyn for the funeral of his older brother, capping off a 16-point, 4-assist night with a steal in the final seconds that kept Clemson from getting off what could have been a tying three-pointer. Grant, who acknowledged to reporters the day before the game that he had not been himself since his brother's death, was 5-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. It was his highest scoring game since a 17-point outburst in a loss at West Virginia on Dec. 10 and means Miami has all its weapons back and firing again.
FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore F Raphael Akpejiori's role had diminished since the return of C Reggie Johnson. Akpejiori made a brief appearance in the loss at North Carolina, playing two minutes at the end. He had two points and a rebound. Over the last six games through Sunday, which coincided with Johnson's return, Akpejiori played in only three for a total of five minutes. He was averaging nearly 12 minutes a game and had started two of Miami's first nine games, at that point.
--Freshman G Shane Larkin led the team in steals after coming up with six against North Carolina to raise his season total to 27. Next on the team with only 12 was G Trey McKinney-Jones.
--Senior F DeQuan Jones averaged 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds an appearance in his first five games.