The Miami basketball team had excellent balance with five players in double figures in their 79-73 first-round ACC Tournament victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon in Greensboro, North Carolina. Miami played exceptional defense on first-team All-ACC forward Justin Champagnie of Pittsburgh.
Champagnie played his worst game this season which might have been the best the Miami basketball team has defended an opposing star. The sophomore wing had 11 points on 5-20 from the floor and 1-8 on three-point attempts with 10 rebounds. Miami held Champagnie scoreless for a nearly 23-minute stretch.
The game was tight throughout with 17 ties and 13 lead changes. The largest lead for Miami was seven, Pittsburgh six. Miami closed the game strong which has been an issue often this season. Trailing 66-64 with 3:35 remaining, the Hurricanes went on an 11-2 run over the next 1:53 to take control of the game.
Assists, free throws and turnovers were a big difference in the game. Miami had 17 assists to nine for Pittsburgh was 22-28 from the free-throw line, to the Panthers 5-14 and had six turnovers to 14. Miami made seven of their final eight free-throw attempts to earn the win. Pittsburgh’s backcourt kept them in the game.
Femi Odukale scored 28 and Nike Sibande had 24 to keep Pittsburgh competitive. Isaiah Wong led Miami with 20 points on 5-13 from the floor, 9-10 from the free-throw line and had four assists. Kameron McGusty, Elijah Olaniyi and Anthony Walker each scored 14 and Nysier Brooks finished with 12.
Walker led Miami with nine rebounds and Olaniyi contributed six each. The one trend that continued for Miami was their struggles on three-point shots on both ends. Pittsburgh made 10 of their 24 three-point shots, while Miami was five of 20. That will have to improve as Miami advances to play Clemson on Wednesday.
Miami was swept by Clemson this season. The Hurricanes lost 66-65 at home in January and 66-58 at Clemson on February 27. Clemson enters the ACC Tournament 16-6 overall and earned the fifth seed after finishing 10-6 during the regular season. Clemson and Miami are scheduled to tipoff at 2:30 ET Wednesday.