No. 3 Hurricanes deal Tigers another heartbreaker, 45-43

Clemson's Jordan Roper steals the ball from Miami's Rion Brown in the first half at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson's Jordan Roper steals the ball from Miami's Rion Brown in the first half at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday.

CLEMSON – Clemson stood toe to toe with No. 3 Miami on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum, hoping to stay in the fight long enough to have a puncher’s chance at the end.

Instead, the Hurricanes escaped with a 45-43 decision – giving the hosts another punch in the gut.

No. 3 Miami 45 Clemson 43 wrap

Tigers can't get last shot to drop

Many of the 8,998 fans will blame the refs for bad calls and no calls and the Tigers might blame themselves for poor shooting (17-of-56 from the field, 4-of-17 from 3-point range and 5-of-13 from the line). Either way Miami (21-3, 12-0 ACC) remains perfect in the Atlantic Coast Conference thanks to a paper-thin victory.

“I’m extremely proud of our players,” Tiger coach Brad Brownell said. “I thought we competed really hard and executed the game plan extremely well. We expected to win the game … we just didn’t execute the plays we needed to make.

“I don’t know how many shots we had that looked like they were going down. It was a great effort.”

For Clemson (13-12, 5-8 ACC) it was more heartbreak in a season in which close losses have become painfully common.

Brownell’s team led 43-41 with 54 seconds to go before Kenny Kadji drained a three with :36 showing on the clock to put the Hurricanes on top.

Rod Hall moved in for a potential tying-basket on the next possession but was whistled for a charge.

Miami’s Trey McKinney Jones made one of two foul shots at the other end but the Tigers still had plenty of time with eight ticks to go.

Instead a last-second Hall shot from close range was off the mark, and the putback by Devin Booker failed to fall, sealing the home team’s fate.

“It’s a positive game in that we played a great Miami team really well,” Brownell said. “But we expected to play them well. I look at it as a way of us being ready to play and executing a game plan that gives us a chance to win. If we had made free throws, we probably should’ve won by six or eight.”

Kadji was Miami’s only double figure scorer with 12 points but Durand Scott helped the cause with 11 rebounds.

“I thought it was a tremendous defensive battle,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “I’ve known Brad Brownell for a long time and every timeour teams have gone head to head it’s gone much like that.

It’s one of those games where it’s not pretty but it shows an awful lot of competitive sprit by both teams.

“Everything we could possibly do (to win) we did.”

The loss overshadowed another star-making performance by freshman guard Jordan Roper, who had a game-high 19 points.

“This is the same thing I felt the last time we lost,” Roper said. “I thought I played well but I wanted to win.”

Senior forward Devin Booker contributed 11 points and 10 boards and could do little more than shake his head in trying to explain his team’s near misses.

“Some of it’s mental, some of it’s physical. I really don’t know what to tell you,” Booker said. “It’s frustrating but you have to move on.”

The game couldn’t have started off much worse for the Tigers, who were one of 17 from the floor at 9:59 of the first half for a 5.9 shooting percentage. In fact they didn’t hit double figures until there was only 6:31 remaining left before intermission.

But what Clemson lacked in offense it made up for in defense, and the hosts made sure no Miami shot went uncontested.

By the end of the half the Hurricanes were on top – but only 18-16 – and Brownell’s team had 20 more minutes to try and pull off the day’s biggest upset.

They came close.

“(Miami) grinds it out to win games and somebody seems to make a play to win games,” Brownell said. They’re having a magical year where everything seems to go right.”

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Comments » 5

michtiger writes:

Wrong headline. Clemson not Miami delt CU the loss. Besides the obvious out of sync play of Jennings and McDaniel lets not forget that Booker missed 4 FTs (one a front end ) in the last few min. and McD missed front of 1&1 and made only one of two Fts in last min. this should have been a lock. This is a permanent feature of this squad and this coach. Jennings blew the last NCSt game with missed FT and the last GT win was close because Hall missed 5 FT at the end. This coaching , forgive me , looks like the Bowden era in Football, just good enough to loose against good opponents and unmotivated against the weaker opponents ( loss to coastal, Purdue at home, a weak BC.) There is no margin for error and although Booker is just average there will be no one to replace him next year, Jennings going will be a relief. Hall and Filler are not progressing. Looks bad.

srober25 writes:

in response to michtiger:

Wrong headline. Clemson not Miami delt CU the loss. Besides the obvious out of sync play of Jennings and McDaniel lets not forget that Booker missed 4 FTs (one a front end ) in the last few min. and McD missed front of 1&1 and made only one of two Fts in last min. this should have been a lock. This is a permanent feature of this squad and this coach. Jennings blew the last NCSt game with missed FT and the last GT win was close because Hall missed 5 FT at the end. This coaching , forgive me , looks like the Bowden era in Football, just good enough to loose against good opponents and unmotivated against the weaker opponents ( loss to coastal, Purdue at home, a weak BC.) There is no margin for error and although Booker is just average there will be no one to replace him next year, Jennings going will be a relief. Hall and Filler are not progressing. Looks bad.

Jennings is absolutely terrible. There is no reason that he was still playing, as he adds nothing to the team. He continually misses open 3-pt shots, he can't rebound, and he can't dribble. He's basically a reincarnated Raymond Sikes. He was 0-7 on three balls last night, and had any of those been a 2pt field goal the game would have been different. He started out well when he was a freshman, but there seems to be a tremendous amount of empathy when he plays.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to michtiger:

Wrong headline. Clemson not Miami delt CU the loss. Besides the obvious out of sync play of Jennings and McDaniel lets not forget that Booker missed 4 FTs (one a front end ) in the last few min. and McD missed front of 1&1 and made only one of two Fts in last min. this should have been a lock. This is a permanent feature of this squad and this coach. Jennings blew the last NCSt game with missed FT and the last GT win was close because Hall missed 5 FT at the end. This coaching , forgive me , looks like the Bowden era in Football, just good enough to loose against good opponents and unmotivated against the weaker opponents ( loss to coastal, Purdue at home, a weak BC.) There is no margin for error and although Booker is just average there will be no one to replace him next year, Jennings going will be a relief. Hall and Filler are not progressing. Looks bad.

That's a way to look at it, but I'm not sure it's the whole picture.

Miami led the ACC in field goal % and defensive field goal % with as a big a frontline and the most talented guards in the ACC...Kadji hit the big 3 to take the lead with under a minute after they had missed 16 of their previous 18 attempts. They hit even a quarter of those attempts and it's a different game as well. And also shot 13% lower from the field - part of that is definitely Clemson's tough D, but they also missed shots. As far as free throws, Booker was the second-worst free throw shooter coming in and had 8 of the 13 attempts on the game. Not a winning formula there.

I get the frustration though. I don't think Brownell was dealt the best hand coming in by the previous staff and definitely didn't have injury luck going into this season (Coleman/Blossomgame, two talented scorers). Still think it's a bit early to put a grade on Brownell's job.

BigBud52 writes:

Brownell has to go. This guy would get out coached in a church league game. Ask yourself this, game after game this season Clemson has come down to the last minute with a chance to win and what has happened? They loose. If it were once in a while I could accept it, but this is every stinking game.

msr59#207595 writes:

Everyone in the building knew Clemson would find a way to lose, and they did.

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