Hurricanes stumble again on the road, fall to Clemson Tigers

Photo credit: Josh White

The Miami Hurricanes continue to struggle away from the Watsco Center.

Coming off a crucial home victory over rival Florida State, the No. 18 Canes dropped their third game of the season on the road, losing to the No. 19 Clemson Tigers 72-63 on Saturday afternoon at the Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers (15-2, 4-1 ACC) hit 12 three-pointers and made 16 of their 17 free throws to recover from a one-point upset loss to NC State Jan. 11. The win moves them to a perfect 10-0 at home this season, including 3-0 in the conference.

Clemson finished with four players scoring in double figures. Senior forward Donte Grantham led the way with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. Marcquise Reed added 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

For Miami (13-3, 2-2 ACC), it was a struggle from both three-point range and the free throw line. UM made just six of its 23 attempts from distance and only 50 percent of its free throws, while also finishing with a season-low five assists compared to eight turnovers.

Freshman Lonnie Walker IV and junior Anthony Lawrence scored 16 apiece, but the Hurricanes were unable to get effective performances from two of their leaders, Bruce Brown Jr. and Ja’Quan Newton, who combined for eight points on 3-16 shooting.

In the first half, the two teams went back and forth, exchanging the lead eight times.

With 10:33 remaining in the first half, guard Chris Lykes rattled home a three-pointer to give the Hurricanes their largest lead of the contest, 22-15.

But the Tigers responded, closing out the half on a 19-8 run, taking a 34-30 advantage to the break.

Clemson’s tenacious defense kept Miami off balance, limiting it to just one assist in the first half.

Coming out of halftime, UM struggled to shoot the ball, but its dominance on the offensive boards – a 16-4 advantage in the second half – kept the game tight.

The Canes were able to tie it at 44 apiece with 12:02 left, but the Tigers answered back with a 10-2 run of their own.

Miami then pulled the game to within two, 56-54, with 3:37 remaining, but Clemson didn’t relinquish the lead, riding its hot shooting to a 16-9 run to close the contest.

Lykes, a freshman, put forth another solid performance. Following his career-high scoring output against FSU, Lykes scored 13 points on 5-8 shooting, including three three-pointers, against Clemson.

The Tigers’ last loss at home came on March 14, 2017, in a 74-69 loss to Oakland in the first round of the NIT Tournament.

Clemson’s 12 three-pointers were the most given up by Miami in a game all season.

UM will look to bounce back when it hosts No. 7 Duke – its third consecutive ranked opponent – at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Watsco Center. The Hurricanes are 5-3 against the Blue Devils since the arrival of coach Jim Larrañaga in 2011.