Coming Back Home

Miami remained winless on the road in ACC play with its 74-66 loss at Clemson, but the good news for the Hurricanes is that four of their remaining five games are at home.

The bad news is that stretch starts with a visit from conference leading Duke, which has won its last two on the road and last four outings overall.

"It is disappointing to have to play so many road games in a row," said coach Frank Haith, whose Hurricanes had only four home games in their first 11 conference contests. "It is hard on the team to come back from that."

To their credit, the Hurricanes have been more competitive in their recent outings after getting blown out in consecutive games against Virginia Tech, Virginia and Maryland.

Against Clemson on Feb. 13, they were within range late in the second after trimming an 11-point deficit to six with under five minutes left.

After the Tigers got their advantage back up to nine on Demontez Stitt's 3-pointer, the Hurricanes again worked away and were within four points in the final minute.

But too many turnovers (14) and struggles at the free throw line, where they made only 7 of 17 attempts, eventually did in the Hurricanes.

"We made six more field goals than they did," said Haith, whose team was 26-of-50 from the field, "but they shot more threes and were just more aggressive.

"I was disappointed in our ability to get to the line, and then we missed our free throws. They were able to get to the line and make their free throws, and I think that was the difference in the game."

The Tigers were 20-of-44 from the field with nine 3-pointers, and 25-of-31 from the free throw line.

The loss dropped the Hurricanes to 3-8 in the conference and 17-8 overall after a 14-1 start. After playing host to Duke, they are at home against Virginia and North Carolina State for their longest homestand since the first three games of the season.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Miami will have one more opportunity to get a road win in conference play when the Hurricanes go to North Carolina on March 2. The Hurricanes haven't been winless on the road in league play since losing all nine road outings in going 0-18 in the Big East in the 1993-94 season.

--The Hurricanes' 52 percent shooting from the field (26 of 50) at Clemson marked the first time they have hit more than half of their field goal attempts in a road game since shooting 52.6 percent at Pepperdine in their final non-conference game.

ON THE SPOT: Miami has struggled from the free throw line in its last two games, going only 17 of 33 from the stripe. Senior F Dwayne Collins has been inconsistent throughout his career, but what really hurts is that first-year guards Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant also have their problems. They are a combined 2 of 9 on three throws in the last two games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We did a nice job, shot 52 percent, and I thought we had great effort and competed. But it is just hard to win on the road." -- Coach Frank Haith, after the Hurricanes went 26 of 50 from the field in the loss at Clemson.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

SEASON RECAP: The Hurricanes have lost six in a row on the road and fallen to 3-8 in ACC play with the loss at Clemson. They have been home for only four of their first 11 road games and have won their last two in Coral Gables (Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech). The Hurricanes were 17-8 overall through Feb. 13.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Dwayne Collins, C Julian Gamble, G Durand Scott, G Garrius Adams, G James Dews. Key Subs -- F Cyrus McGown, F DeQuan Jones, F Adrian Thomas, C Reggie Johnson, G Malcolm Grant.

GAME REVIEW:

Florida State 71, Miami 65
Miami 64, Georgia Tech 62
Clemson 74, Miami 66

GAME PREVIEW:

vs. Duke, Wednesday, Feb. 17
vs. Virginia, Tuesday, Feb. 23
vs. North Carolina State, Saturday, Feb. 27
at North Carolina, Tuesday, March 2
vs. Florida State, Saturday, March 6

IN FOCUS: Miami beat Duke two years ago in Coral Gables, a win that helped propel the Hurricanes into the NCAA Tournament. Once again, Miami needs a win over the Blue Devils to enhance its NCAA chances, but handling Duke's perimeter game, led by G Jon Scheyer, will be a big problem.

ROSTER REPORT:

--G Malcolm Grant kept Miami in the game in the second half against Clemson, scoring all of his team-high 13 points after the intermission.

--F DeQuan Jones, a former starter, came off the bench and played 13 minutes against Clemson after sitting out the entire win over Georgia Tech. He made both of his field goal attempts for four points and also had a rebound and two assists.

--G James Dews had to leave the game after getting a poke in the eye early in the second half, but he returned after a couple of minutes to recover and was 4-of-8 from the field on his way to nine points before fouling out with 6:21 left.


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