10 days after breaking a school record for three-pointers in a game (18), the Miami Hurricanes did not come out with the hot hand at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum on New Year’s Eve.
But DJ Vasiljevic’s tie-breaking 3-pointer with 59 seconds to go in overtime put the Canes up as they rallied from down 10-points down with under 10 minutes to play to win their fifth straight in a 73-68 victory over Clemson on Tuesday.
UM (9-3, 1-1 ACC) outscored Clemson with a 15-2 run led by Chris Lykes to put the Canes up three with three and a half minutes remaining in regulation. The teams traded baskets before the game ultimately headed to overtime.
Jim Larrañaga’s young squad switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone late in regulation and OT, outscoring the Tigers 17-7, leading to the victory.
Lykes scored the 1000th point of his UM career on Tuesday, with his 27 points, a game-high. The Junior was the only Cane that shot over 50% from the field, going 10-16, with a trio of threes and numerous crafty finishes over much taller defenders.
Kameron McGusty finished with 15 points, despite a rough 1st half with 4 points on 2-6 shooting. Vasiljevic was unable to pick up off his rough outing from beyond the arc against Coppin State, adding 15 points on 4-11 shooting, 2-5 3PT, with one three being the dagger in overtime.
Florida Transfer Keith Stone was the X-Factor for UM on Tuesday, with a game-high nine rebounds. Stone‘s grit on the court energized the defense to exploit Clemson’s offense and force numerous turnovers down the stretch before fouling out. The Hurricanes have been a much better team since the senior returned against Illinois on Dec. 2.
Aamir Sims led the Tigers in scoring with 21 points on 57% from the field. Junior Clyde Trapp finished with a season-high 13 points and 5 rebounds, cashing in 3 threes.
Miami was not up to par shooting the ball for most of the night. The Canes shot 39% as they headed to halftime tied 26-26, also giving up a 20-8 run early in the second half.
The Hurricanes began to hit big shots on offense and finally began to take advantage of Clemson’s weak 3PT shooting with the switch to the 2-3 zone defense. The Tigers shot 27% from beyond the arc on Tuesday.
With the win, Miami moves to 9-3 on the season, winning their last 5 games. After a performance in the Charleston Classic, the defense has looked new and improved, and the Hurricanes hope to head into the new year with that same energy.
UM gets ready to host #2 Duke at the Watsco Center Saturday at 6 p.m. The schedule won’t get any easier after that, as the Canes will travel to take on #7 Louisville on January 7th.