Grant leads way for Clemson, 79-72
CLEMSON, S.C. – Jerai Grant had 18 points and Demontez Stitt 17 as Clemson won its seventh straight game and gave coach Brad Brownell his first ACC victory, 79-72 over Miami on Saturday night.
Grant added 11 rebounds for his third double-double this season and Stitt had 11 of his points in the second half, including five in a 12-0 run to start the half, for the Tigers (12-4, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Miami (11-5, 0-2) got within 74-71 on Durand Scott's banker with 1:16 left, but Andre Young followed with a high, floating basket as the shot clock ran out to extend the Tigers' lead.
Scott finished with a game-high 24 points.
It was Clemson's fourth consecutive win over the Hurricanes.
The Tigers led by as many as 13 points in the second half before the Hurricanes tightened things up.
Malcolm Grant's 3-pointer drew Miami to 57-55 with 8 minutes left before Stitt and Milton Jennings hit a pair of long-range shots to increase Clemson's lead.
Scott powered the Hurricanes' final charge with a running banker to bring his team within 3.
Clemson used up most of the shot clock before starting a play. Stitt's drive was cut off and he shoveled the ball to Young, who had to dribble to keep his balance and was swarmed by defenders. But Young, at 5 foot 11, backed up and floated a high arching desperation shot that went in as the buzzer sounded.
Miami could get no closer.
Both teams had lost their ACC openers and were eager to pick up a league win.
The Tigers fell at Florida State 75-69 to start the ACC on Dec. 12, the last of a three-game losing streak that looked like it might take the air out of Brownell's team. Instead, Clemson had won its past six heading into this contest.
Miami had won nine of 10 to close 2010 before losing at No. 1 Duke 74-63 this past Sunday.
The Hurricanes came out like they hadn't shaken off that defeat at Cameron Indoor. Stitt hit a pair of 3s, Jerai Grant controlled the offensive boards and the Tigers' tight defense kept Miami off balance to lead 12-6.
Clemson stretched that margin to 32-23 after Tanner Smith's jumper with 5 minutes left in the half.
Smith punched the air as Tiger fans cheered after Miami coach Frank Haith called timeout.
Whatever he said certainly seemed to settle the Hurricanes, who closed the half with a 10-2 run as their talented New York City backcourt took control.
Malcolm Grant, of Brooklyn, hit two foul shots and a jumper, and Scott, also from the city, hit four free throws in the final 70 seconds to cut the lead to 34-33.