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Miami Hurricanes Basketball

Canes MBB: Season Comes To An End In Conference Tournament Loss

With the 2019-2020 season on the line, the Miami Hurricanes were unable to hold onto a first-half lead, falling to the Clemson Tigers, 64-69.

In their second meeting of the season, the Hurricanes (15-16, 7-13) came into Greensborough, NC as favorites, after defeating the Tigers (16-15, 9-11) on New Years Eve in overtime, 73-68.

Despite several lead changes throughout the match – a Chris Lykes three-pointer gave the Canes a 1 point lead with 5:50 remaining -nonetheless, careless fouls got the Tigers in the bonus, setting up a major advantage in the final minutes.

Evened up at 53 a piece, Clemson went on an 11-0 run to take a 55-66 lead with 1:04 remaining. Miami did not give up just yet, Chris Lykes cut the lead to single-digits with a three-pointer and Isaiah Wong downed his first three off an inbound steal to make it a 4 point lead for Clemson.

Sam Waardenburg stole another inbound for the Canes and kicked it off to Freshman Anthony Walker with a chance to make it a one-possession game.

Walker missed both of his free-throws, Waardenburg couldn’t hold onto the offensive rebound, giving it back to Clemson.

With 9 seconds remaining, the Canes fouled Aamir Simms, who made 1/2 from the line to extend Clemson’s lead to 5.

Chris Lykes couldn’t convert a three-pointer as time expired, ending their hopes of an ACC Tournament run. Lykes was tremendous for Miami, finishing with 21 points on 7-16 shooting.

D.J. Vasiljevic and Kameron McGusty were the other two Canes who finished with double-digit scoring, Vasiljevic with 17 and McGusty adding 12. Isaiah Wong brought in 8 points, Keith Stone had 6.

As for Clemson, Al-Amir Dawes led in scoring with 18 points on 4-7 shooting. Dawes was monumental with 8-8 from the free-throw line. Aamir Sims gave the Tigers 14 points and John Newman added 11.

The free-throw line was Miami’s worst enemy late as Clemson shot a season-best 94.7% (18-19) from the charity stripe. Anthony Walker’s 2 missed free-throws and only 7 total attempts for the Canes were arguably what sealed them from pulling away.

“I thought it was a very hard-fought contest,” said Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga. “Both teams played very well, especially in the first half where neither one of us could get anything going offensively. We were hoping that we could continue to play that kind of defense in the second half, but Clemson got it rolling. They had no free throws at halftime, and they made 18 of 19 in the second half, so obviously that’s the biggest difference in the game.”

Clemson also outshot Miami, 46.8-38.1%. Another disappointing shooting performance sealed the deal for the Canes chance to face a Florida State tomorrow in the ACC quarterfinals.

What’s Next For The Canes:

Following an upsetting 15-16 record, the Miami Hurricanes season ends in Greensburg, North Carolina today. With a below .500 record, the Canes do not qualify for the NIT invitational.

Miami will look onwards to their 2020-2021 season, having every player back on scholarship not mentioning Seniors D.J. Vasiljevic and Keith Stone.

On a positive note, the Hurricanes add Nysier Brooks to their squad after sitting a year for eligibility along with incoming freshmen Matt Cross and Earl Timberlake.

It will be exciting to see how much this inexperienced young team can develop during the off-season following another unsatisfactory season.

Michael Yero covers all of South Florida’s major pro teams, along with high school sports for 305 Sports. He also covers sports for Immaculata-La Salle High School’s student newspaper, the Royal Courier.

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