GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers will continue their season-ending three-game homestand at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday night when they take on Atlantic Coast Conference foe the Miami-Florida Hurricanes.
Miami had waded in mediocrity this season, going a modest 15-14 overall, while struggling in ACC action at just 6-10. The good news for the Hurricanes is that they have been on the upswing in recent weeks with wins in three of four, including an 85-70 triumph at NC State on Saturday afternoon, and they have performed well on the road at 7-5.
Clemson battled through two overtimes on Sunday versus Maryland and came out on the positive end of a 77-73 final for its third win in its past four games. The Tigers have enjoyed a solid 18-10 season, which includes a 9-7 mark in the ACC and a 12-2 home record.
The Tigers hold an 11-9 advantage over the Hurricanes in the all-time series, but Miami has come out on top in three straight meetings.
After fighting through eight ties and eight lead changes early in their latest game, the Hurricanes took control late to surge ahead for the 15-point victory. In what was its most impressive offensive performance of the season, the squad shot a blistering 58.6 percent from the field and knocked down 26- of-32 at the free-throw line (.813). Pacing five players in double figures with 20 points was Rion Brown, who shot 7-of-13 from the field. Garrius Adams netted 16 points, Erik Swoope and Manu Lecomte poured in 15 points apiece and Tonye Jekiri tallied a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Miami has been able to remain competitive in most of its games this season thanks to a top-notch defense, which ranks in the top-10 nationally in allowing just 59.7 ppg, but unfortunately its offensive performance over the weekend was far from typical, as its scoring offense (61.8 ppg) is one of the country's worst. Brown puts up 15.0 ppg with a team-high 57 3-pointers. Adams (10.1 ppg) is the only other player to net in double figures but has been dreadful from the field (.351).
The Tigers also had to endure a back-and-forth contest in their most recent bout, but after eight ties, 13 lead changes and 10 minutes of extra play, they came out on top in the four-point decision. They shot a mere 35.7 percent from the floor but made 24-of-35 at the free-throw line and played outstanding defense, holding Maryland to a meager 30.4 percent shooting. K.J. McDaniels shined in the victory with 26 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. Rod Hall also stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, seven boards and five assists, Landry Nnoko tallied 11 points and nine rebounds and Damarcus Harrison netted 10.
Although Clemson's offensive production has been underwhelming to say the least -- it shoots just 41.3 percent from the field for 62.9 ppg -- it has been led by its excellent defensive pressure, as its scoring defense (56.8 ppg) ranks second in the nation behind only Virginia (54.8 ppg). McDaniels is the unquestioned catalyst with 17.1 ppg, while also contributing elsewhere with 7.2 pg, 2.9 bpg and 34 3-pointers. Hall brings 9.4 ppg and 3.9 apg to the mix.
Although Miami has had success on the road, its low-scoring attack is a poor match going up against Clemson's elite defense.
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