Hurricanes use late surge, rally in first conference game for 80-75 win versus Clemson

Sixth-year redshirt senior Sam Waardenburg battles against a Clemson defender for a shot in Miami’s win over Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. Waardenburg scored a game high 18 points knocking down four three-pointers.
Sixth-year redshirt senior Sam Waardenburg battles against a Clemson defender for a shot in Miami’s win over Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. Waardenburg scored a game high 18 points, knocking down four three-pointers. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Sixth-year redshirt senior Sam Waardenburg scored 18 points, the Hurricanes had four players in double-figure scoring and Miami used a 12-0 run late in the second half to propel itself to a thrilling 80-75 win in its conference opener against Clemson.

The Hurricanes, who trailed for almost the entire game, took their first lead with 2:56 remaining in the game on a Jordan Miller corner 3-pointer. Miller, who finished with 13 points, played his best game as a Hurricane, sinking three shots from behind the arc after making two the entire season thus far.

“It shows a lot of resilience that we can handle adversity,” Miller said. “We blocked out the noise and continued pushing and it shows our team is going to fight to the end.”

Head Coach Jim Larrañaga celebrates with students after leading Miami to their first conference win of the season against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. Larrañaga is in his 10th season at Miami.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga celebrates with students after leading Miami to their first conference win of the season against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. Larrañaga is in his 10th season at Miami. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Miami’s woes defending the 3-point arc continued, as the Tigers shot 9-of-21 from behind the arc to a tune of 43%. Clemson entered the game as the top 3-point shooting team in the ACC and 10th in the country.

Clemson (5-4, 0-1 ACC) entered the halftime locker room with a six-point lead and maintained a two-possession advantage throughout the majority of the second half. The Tigers were led by PJ Hall, who finished with 18 points. The visitors also received strong contributions from David Collins’ 15 points, and a surprise 15 points off the bench from Chase Hunter.

“They made it very difficult to guard them inside and outside,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They’ve got an unstoppable force in PJ Hall.”

The long-distance shots kept the Hurricanes (6-3, 1-0 ACC) close while they weathered the Tigers runs, as Waardenburg equaled his career high in 3-point makes that he set on Tuesday in Miami’s win over Penn State.

Sixth-year redshirt senior Charlie Moore goes up for a reverse layup that gave him two of his eight points during Miami’s win over Clemson 80-75 at the Watcso Center on Saturday Dec. 4.
Sixth-year redshirt senior Charlie Moore goes up for a reverse layup that gave him two of his eight points during Miami’s win over Clemson 80-75 at the Watcso Center on Saturday Dec. 4. Photo credit: Josh Halper

With the Tigers leading 70-61 with 5:01 remaining, Waardenburg hit one of his four triples to cut the deficit to six. After back-to-back layups from Waardenburg and sixth-year senior point guard Charlie Moore, Miller drilled the triple from the corner and Miami held on to the lead for the rest of the game.

“[Miller] played like we thought he would from the beginning,” Larrañaga said. “As he continues to build his confidence, I think you’re going to see a lot more of that.”

The Hurricanes won the second half 46-35 and held Clemson to just five points in the last five minutes, after allowing 70 in the first 35 minutes.

Sixth-year redshirt senior Kameron McGusty takes a shot from the key during the second half of Miami’s 80-75 win over Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. McGusty finished the game with 15 points and helped Miami to their first conference game of the season.
Sixth-year redshirt senior Kameron McGusty takes a shot from the key during the second half of Miami’s 80-75 win over Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Watsco Center. McGusty finished the game with 15 points and helped Miami to their first conference game of the season. Photo credit: Josh Halper

“We’re building chemistry out there,” Waardenburg said. “We have that resolve to get better day by day and that showed today we were able to fight and our bench energy has been amazing.”

Miami next plays Lipscomb (5-3) at home on
Wednesday at 7 p.m.