Clemson beats Miami for fifth straight conference win, Brownell wins 200th in Tigertown
Clemson got 19 points and six rebounds from Aamir Simms, while Al-Amir Dawes came off the bench to add 18 points as the Tigers beat Miami, 66-58, to win their fifth straight game.
Saturday’s win at Littlejohn Coliseum marks the first time since the 1989-’90 season that Clemson finished the month of February undefeated in ACC play and overall.
The 1989-’90 team won the Tigers’ lone ACC Regular Season Championship.
“Coach (Brad Brownell) is most deserving of that, I think,” Simms said after the game. “He works extremely hard on and off the court. He puts us in position to play our best game and gives us a chance to win almost every game. We definitely owe it to him, and he also got his 200th win.
“So, like I said, Coach is the most deserving and he puts us in position to get that done every night. So, it was definitely a big accomplishment for us to achieve that goal.”
As Simms said, Brownell earned his 200th win at Clemson, the most by any men’s basketball coach in Tigertown.
“I am proud of it because of the longevity of being here,” Brownell said. “It is like I said to the guys in the locker room, I have had the privilege of coaching here for eleven years. I feel very honored and blessed about it. I have talked about how much I have enjoyed being here. I have one (daughter) that is graduated and one that is halfway through. My wife and I are very comfortable here and we appreciate the way we have been treated over the years.
“We have put our heart and soul into Clemson. Probably more than some folks realize, as far as the effort we put in, as far as fundraising and a lot of things that got into more than direct basketball stuff.”
Besides Simms’ 19 points and Dawes 18 points, Clemson also got 10 points and five rebounds from Hunter Tyson. The Tigers finished the month of February undefeated at 5-0.
Following a 10-0 run by Miami that cut what was once a 13-point Clemson lead to three points, Simms drained a three-point from the left wing to give the Tigers a 62-54 advantage with 2:50 to play in the game. Tyson then hit a three with 1:38 to play to seal the Tigers’ victory.
The Tigers (15-5, 9-5 ACC) used a 12-2 run midway through the second half to take a 57-44 lead with 9:17 to play following a Dawes’ three from the right corner. Clemson got two threes from Dawes during the run, as well as another from Tyson.
However, Miami (7-15, 3-14 ACC) rallied for 10 straight points to get right back in the game, 57-54. The run was capped by an Elijah Olaniyi layup and drawn foul, which he converted. Isaiah Wong, who scored a game-high, 28 points, also made a three prior to Olaniyi’s layup with 5:16 to play.
Clemson led 34-30 at halftime thanks to a Nick Honor layup that he kissed off the glass as time expired in the first half. Honored finished the afternoon with six points to go along with three assists. Senior guard Clyde Trapp had five points and four assists for the Tigers.
After surviving early hot shooting from Miami, the Tigers settled in and took control of the game late in the half. The Hurricanes led by as many as seven points, 19-12, in the opening half. But then Dawes went off for Clemson.
The sophomore guard scored 10 straight points, two layups off steals and two three pointers. His 10 straight points allowed the Tigers to take a 26-23 lead with 7:10 to play in the half.
“That is Al-Amir Dawes. That is what he does,” Simms said. “That is the player he is. He has been struggling a little bit this year, but that is the good thing about him. That is the thing you never no. He might just pop up and give twenty (points). And some nights, he might do what he just has to do. But we are not surprised by what he did because that is what he is supposed to do.
“When he does that we are not surprised. That is just his game and we are going to keep supporting him whether he has twenty points or has zero. Hats off to Al.”
Dawes finished the game 7-of-9 from the floor overall, including a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc.
Clemson closed out the first half by holding the Hurricanes to no field goals and 0-for-5 shooting in the last 5:11.
The Tigers will play at Syracuse on Wednesday. Tip is set for 5 p.m.