Maybe it’s the room service or the stiff hotel beds, but whatever the reason, the road woes continue for the men’s basketball team.
Even on a day when the Miami Hurricanes played with intensity on defense by totaling eight steals and shooting over 50 percent from the floor, the Canes could not come away with a victory.
This time, Miami (17-8, 3-8 ACC) fell to Clemson (18-7, 6-5) 74-66 Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum, falling 0-7 in road games in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.
“I thought we played extremely hard,” said head coach Frank Haith. “I thought we had some tough plays that didn’t go our way. It is just hard to win on the road.”
Miami was within striking distance the entire game but what plagued them was free throw shooting.
Miami shot only seven for 17 from the free throw line compared to Clemson which made 25 of 31 free throws.
“I was disappointed in our ability to get to the line and then we missed our free throws,” Haith said. “[Clemson] was able to get to the line and make their free throws and I think that was the difference in the game.”
Sophomore guard Malcolm Grant led the Hurricanes with 13 points, all coming in the second half. Freshman guard Durand Scott had 10 points but the problem was in their free throws. It’s atypical of the two point guards to combine for 2-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Senior forward Dwayne Collins was virtually out of the game from the beginning. Collins found himself in foul trouble early and played only 22 minutes.
Even so, the Hurricanes still had a chance to win. Grant nailed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to make it 67-63. But Miami started to foul and Clemson finished off the Canes by knocking down nine of 10 free throws in the final minute.
“It’s tough,” said senior guard James Dews, who scored nine points. “We went out there and fought hard, but we just didn’t come out on top.”
Clemson’s signature full court press forced UM to turn the ball over 14 times. Miami’s zone defense, on the other hand, allowed Clemson to make nine three-point baskets.
The Hurricanes are now ninth in the ACC standings and their dreams of playing the NCAA Tournament are on life support.
“It is disappointing to have to play so many road games in a row,” said Haith, whose team will play three straight home games. “It is hard on the team to come back from that.”
Miami used the same starting lineup for the third straight game. Redshirt sophomore forward Julian Gamble and freshman guard Garrius Adams have each found their niche in the starting role.
Miami next plays No. 8 Duke Wednesday at 7 p.m.
At halftime, Miami will honor three legendary former Hurricanes. Jack McClinton (2006-2009), Don Curnutt (1967-1970) and Dick Hickox (1958-1961) will have their jerseys raised in the rafters of the BankUnited Center.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.