Head coach Brad Brownell earned his first ACC win Saturday night as Clemson defeated Miami 79-72 in Littlejohn. It was the seventh victory in a row for the Tigers.
“Clemson was just more aggressive than we were; on rebounding and on transition buckets. Grant just kicked our big guy’s butts. He was outstanding and our guys didn’t have a chance,” said Miami head coach Frank Haith.
Jerai Grant led the Tigers in scoring with 18. Demontez Stitt added 17 and was 4-7 from three.
“I was really proud of how spirited they were. We played with more confidence, which is certainly not only necessary, but a major positive step for us to feel comfortable. We needed to be able to battle through a lot of adversity at times. I talked to our guys about that before the game because we haven’t had a lot of that over the past few games,” said Brownell.
The Tigers shot 50 percent on the night including 38 percent from three. Clemson was outstanding from the free throw line hitting 19-23 good for 83 percent.
Coach Brownell hadn’t really thougth about it being his first ACC win.
“I haven’t really thought about it. But certainly, I guess it’s a significant moment in terms of getting to this level and getting to coach at a school like Clemson,” said Brownell.
Clemson got off to a 9-2 lead when Demontez Stitt drained a three as the clock expired. Miami battled back to cut the lead to three before Stitt nailed another three pointer.
Miami went on a nice run including several threes to take the lead 15-14. The two teams exchanged baskets until Milton Jennings hit a three to put the Tigers up 21-17. Clemson continued the surge and built a 32-23 lead with 5:09 to play in the half when Tanner Smith scored. The Canes rallied at the end of the half to cut the lead to one.
Clemson went on a 10-0 run to start the second half and led 44-34 with 17:37 to go after Grant made a free throw to get a three point play the old fashioned way.
Miami went on a 24-15 run to cut the lead to one with 8:18 to go. Most of that run occurred with Young and Stitt on the bench. They returned after Clemson called a timeout. The Tigers would stretch the lead back to seven at 74-67 with 2:10 to go in the game.
The shot of the game came in the final seconds when Andre Young hit a clutch shot falling way as the clock ran out with 37 seconds to go to put the Tigers up 76-71.
With the win the Tigers moved to 12-4 on the season and 1-1 in the ACC.