Miami basketball season ends to Clemson at ACC Tournament

The Miami basketball season came to a heartbreaking end at the ACC Tournament in a 69-64 loss to Clemson in the second round.

The Miami basketball season came to a heartbreaking end with a 69-64 loss to Clemson in the second round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro on Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers used a 13-3 run late in the second half before holding off a Hurricanes surge in the final minute to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Miami led 23-21 at halftime. Clemson outscored Miami 48-41 in a wild second half. It was the first time this season the Hurricanes lost after having the lead at halftime. Miami settled too often for three-point shots, particularly in the first half. The Hurricanes shot 2-15 on three-point attempts in the first half and finished 11-36.

Miami rallied after falling behind 64-53 with 1:04 remaining in the game, The Hurricanes cut the deficit to 68-64 with a chance to further cut into the lead with 12 seconds remaining. Anthony Walker who had not played the entire game until the final few seconds went to the free-throw line.

Walker missed both, Aamir Simms of Clemson split a pair of free throws for the final margin. It has to be questioned why Walker was in the game. Walker had an opportunity to pass to Dejan Vasiljevic for what could have been an open three. It was a lot to expect a cold Walker to make the free throws.

If both shots from the line go down by Walker, the Hurricanes would have been within one possession.  Clemson went 18-19 from the free-throw line in the final 12.5 minutes to seal the victory. Miami went only 5-7 from the line. Chris Lykes came off the bench to lead Miami with 21 points.

The Hurricanes star junior point guard did not start after sustaining facial injuries in a loss to Virginia last Wednesday. Lykes sat out Saturday’s win against Syracuse. Vasiljevic had 17 points, five rebounds and made 3-7 three-point field goal attempts in his final game for Miami. Kameron McGusty added 12.

Next: Miami basketball wins regular season finale vs. Syracuse

Al-Amir Dawes led Clemson with 18, Simms had 14 points and 10 rebounds and a late three-point shot by Hunter Tyson was critical as Clemson avenged their loss to Miami on New Year’s Eve. The loss drops Miami to15-16 to seal their second straight losing season. Miami returns everyone but Vasiljevic and Keith Stone in 2020-21.

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