Can’t win the close ones

Sophomore guard Durand Scott reacts to missing a layup in the final minute against Clemson Sunday. Scott scored sixteen points but failed to convert on a potentially game-tying free-throw with 12 seconds remaining. Alex Broadwell//The Miami Hurricane

Heartbreak has become second nature to the Miami Hurricanes this season.

Trailing by 3 points with five seconds remaining, the Clemson Tigers made sure the Hurricanes had to earn 3 points the hard way. Clemson elected to foul Miami instead of chancing a 3-point attempt to tie the game and sent redshirt senior forward Adrian Thomas to the foul line. Thomas made the first shot and missed the second shot intentionally but Miami (16-11,4-8) was unable to capture the rebound. They lost 63-59.

Miami has had games come down to the final 10 seconds in nine of their last 10 games in the ACC. The Canes are 4-5 in those games.

“Obviously a tough loss,” head coach Frank Haith said. “Difference in the game was the free throws. We had a chance down the stretch. They made them, we didn’t.”

The Hurricanes had an opportunity to tie the game at 59 points but sophomore guard Durand Scott missed his first free throw and had to hit the second one. Miami was forced to foul and the Tigers (18-9,7-6) didn’t allow the Hurricanes to get off a 3-point shot in the closing seconds.

“I don’t like losing at all,” said Scott, who was disappointed he missed the potential game-tying free throw. “We have to go out there and play harder and execute more. Got to try and get the next one.”
The Canes only had two players finish in double-digits. Scott finished with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. Thomas added 13 points in 31 minutes off the bench.

The Canes out-performed Clemson from the field, shooting 49 percent to the Tigers’ 42 percent, but it was the lack of consistent free throw shooting that ultimately cost the team. Miami was 15-23 (63 percent) and Clemson was 18-21 (85 percent) from the charity stripe.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said redshirt junior guard Malcolm Grant, who was injured in the first half but came back and finished with 7 points. “Our whole coaching staff does a great job in preparing us. It’s just extremely frustrating.”

Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at lledoux@themiamihurricane.com.