Miami has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games, which may be bad news for the 23rd-ranked Hurricanes as they head into Saturday’s Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at No. 20 Clemson.
That’s because the Hurricanes (17-5, 8-4) are coming off a 92-83 win over Virginia Tech — their highest-scoring game in league play this season. They authored solid shooting performances from the field (58.3 percent), the 3-point line (8 of 19) and the foul line (14 of 17) as part of a crisp overall effort.
Nijel Pack stole the show down the stretch, scoring all 17 of his points in the final 7:35, as he made six consecutive shots over a five-minute span to turn the tide in Miami’s favor.
“Once you get it going, a guy like him who shoots so well, you can keep it going for a long time,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said.
“We made some good decisions,” the coach added.” We scored the ball very, very well during those last four or five minutes.”
Pack finished 5 of 7 from 3-point range and is 20 of 36 from outside the arc over his last five games.
“It was a whole bunch of fun, with that ending,” Pack said. “I saw how close it was and (that) we needed a boost.”
Norchad Omier led Miami with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Isaiah Wong chipped in 18 points and five steals, while Jordan Miller added 14 points, six boards and five assists.
That variety of offensive weapons could pose a problem for a Clemson team that has struggled over the last five games. During that stretch, the Tigers (18-5, 10-2) have lost twice and escaped with two one-point wins.
Clemson is looking to bounce back from a 62-54 loss at Boston College on Tuesday in which the team shot just 30.8 percent overall, including 28.6 percent from 3-point range. Seventeen turnovers didn’t help matters, either.
“I couldn’t get my guys under control. I couldn’t get them to relax. That’s my fault,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “For whatever reason, we just didn’t do a good job tonight. I didn’t do a good job as a coach.”
Hunter Tyson scored 22 points and Chase Hunter added 12, but the duo combined to shoot 10 of 27 from the floor.
“It was one of those nights where the other team played better than we did,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. We didn’t share the ball much. When we got behind, we kind of panicked and hoped Chase and Hunter would bail us out. That’s poor coaching.”
Perhaps the Clemson shooters can find a rhythm against a Miami team that has not won back-to-back games since the calendar turned to 2023. The Tigers are 5-4 since, although the four defeats have come by a total of 13 points.
Six of the last seven matchups between the teams have been decided by five points or fewer.
–Field Level Media