Basketball Team Falls to Northwestern, 61-59

Jack McClinton kept the University of Miami in the game with Northwestern Tuesday night, but it was his eagerness to try to win the game that ended up costing the Hurricanes as Miami (4-3) dropped a heartbreaker to the Wildcats in ACC/Big Team Challenge 61-59.

Down 61-59 following a free throw by Northwestern's Jason Okrzesik, McClinton took an ill-advised contested three-pointer from beyond NBA three-point range that hit the back iron with eight seconds to play. The rebound was tipped by numerous players before Northwestern gained control and tossed the ball down the court as time expired.

McClinton lay on the court dejected following the miss, but it was his 30 points that were the reason Miami had a sniff of a chance. While his teammates were missing in action for most the game, McClinton drained shot after shot that kept the ‘Canes within striking distance.

He continued his torrid shooting from three-point range, draining five of nine from long range. Over the past five games, McClinton is 19 for 33 from three-point range.

Trailing 57-47 with 3:42 to play, McClinton put the team on his shoulders. His driving lay up with 1:54 to play cut the lead to 57-53 and his three-pointer from about 24-feet out on the right wing cut the lead to 58-56 with a minute to play capping an individual 9-1 run.

At that point, he had scored 30 of Miami's 56 points or 53.5% of the team's points.

But down 59-56 with the ball McClinton tried to dribble through traffic and lost it out of bounds.

Miami's second leading scorer on the night was Brian Asbury who finished with 9 points and hit a big three-pointer from the corner with 15.3 seconds to play that cut the Wildcats lead to one at 60-59.

While Miami dominated the glass grabbing 30 rebounds to Northwestern's 19, the ‘Canes perimeter defense was horrid as they were scorched for ten three-pointers, including seven by Craig Moore who was left open over and over again. On the other hand, Miami hit nine threes of its own, but the style of play was dictated by Northwestern which led 30-27 going into the half.

Northwestern jumped the ‘Canes to start the second half taking a 36-29 lead, but Miami picked up the pace and forced the tempo as they went on an 8-0 run to take a 37-36 lead, but it didn't last as the Wildcats responded thanks in part to Miami's 2-3 zone that was eaten alive.

Following a wide open three-pointer by Okrzesik that gave the Wildcats the lead right after Miami went on its 8-0 run and a free throw by Tim Doyle, Moore swished another wide open three from the corner to push the lead to six and hit another wide open three to give Northwestern a 47-39 lead with 11:09 to play.

Moore, who came in averaging six points a game, finished with a season high 24 points on 8 of 11 shooting, including draining 7 of 10 from three-point range.

McClinton responded with a three and a free throw to cut the lead to four, but Jeremy Nash caught a bit of luck when he banked a three from the top of the key, but again, it was a wide open shot. Another three by Moore and two free throws by Doyle pushed the lead to 57-47 with 3:42 to play.

Anthony Harris' struggles continued as he was 2 for 8 from the field, 0 for 3 from behind the arc and finished with only 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists before fouling out with 3:42 to play.

Anthony King also continued to have woes on the offensive side of the ball scoring 8 points on only 8 shots. He didn't even take a shot until the 11 minute mark of the first half. His first points of the game came on a put back with 32 seconds to play in the first half. He finished with 10 rebounds, but it marks the fifth straight game that King has not cracked double digits on the scoreboard.

Miami returns to the BankUnited Center Sunday at 5:30 p.m. when it hosts ACC opponent Georgia Tech.

Miami (4-3) - McClinton 30, Asbury 9, King 8, Graham 5, Harris 4, Clemente 3.

Northwestern (4-2) – Moore 24, Doyle 11, Coble 7, Williams 5, Tolic 4, Okrzesik 4, Nash 3, Ryan 3.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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