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Paws up, paws down: Clemson vs. Miami

Matt Mynes, Asst. Photo Editor

The Clemson men’s basketball team suffered back-to-back losses on Saturday for the first time this season.

In a high-stakes ACC showdown at Littlejohn Coliseum last Saturday, the Clemson Tigers lost to the Miami Hurricanes by a score of 78-74. 

Here are a few key takeaways from the game:

Paws up: Clemson finally getting healthy

The Tigers were lucky to have everyone back from the injury report in Saturday’s matchup. Guards Chase Hunter, Alex Hemenway and Brevin Galloway were all able to see the floor and play key roles.

The most impactful of the three was Galloway. After a groin injury sidelined the graduate guard, Galloway came out on fire, scoring nine of Clemson’s 14 points in the first seven minutes of regulation. The guard finished the game with 15 points and four assists, showing little signs of rust.

With the Tigers’ next game being this Saturday, it will allow the three to fully recover and get a much-needed break, as Clemson will look to stay at the top of the ACC standings.

Paws down: Rebounding

When looking at both teams before the game began, Clemson had the height advantage, with the Hurricanes considered a smaller team. However, the Tigers were out-rebounded by a tally of 38 to 28.

Due to this difference, Miami was able to put more points on the board, thanks to their many offensive rebounds. The Hurricanes had nine offensive rebounds compared to the Tigers’ two, allowing Miami nine second-chance points which could have been prevented.

Most notably, with barely a minute to go and the Tigers down three points, Clemson was unable to secure a defensive rebound on a jumper from Miami guard Jordan Miller, as Miami forward Norchad Omier instead secured the ball, ultimately forcing a foul which created a two-possession game in the Hurricanes’ favor.

With the rebound brought in and now allowing a one-possession game, the rebound proved to be critical and told the story of Clemson’s loss. 

“I guess they fought harder than us,” Clemson forward Hunter Tyson said. “You never want to lose the rebounding battle, and we did.”

Paws up: Fighting through adversity

The Tigers found themselves in large deficits on multiple occasions and were able to come out and rally against a tough Miami offense. Down by 12 in the second half, Clemson stormed back and forced a close game, cutting the Hurricanes’ lead to three multiple times.

The Tigers have shown this resiliency before, mounting large comebacks and fighting through adversity throughout the season, recently overcoming the Florida State Seminoles in January to pull out a late win. However, they were unable to fully close it out this time around, resulting in their sixth loss this season and third loss in conference play.

Paws down: Second-half start

At the beginning of the second half, the Hurricanes came out firing, outscoring the Tigers 21-9 in the first 9 minutes of play to gain a 12-point lead after being tied at halftime.

Miami got hot from beyond the arc, scoring four 3-pointers in the first 9 minutes.

“They got comfortable and they’re hard covers,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “They have a lot of guys that are shotmakers.”

Paws up: Offensive outlook

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers were able to put 74 points on the Hurricanes, despite having many scoring droughts throughout the game.

Clemson was able to fire on all aspects of the ball from many different scorers, showing success from the field, behind the arc and the free throw line.

“We shot 48 percent, we had 17 assists and shot 10 threes. We just could not stop them,” Brownell said.

Paws down: ACC lead

With the loss on Saturday, it makes the ACC standings dicey, with many teams in considerable contention for the top seed as postseason play looms. 

Clemson remains at the top with a record of 10-3 in ACC play. However, with the Virginia Cavaliers and the Pittsburgh Panthers only half a game behind the Tigers, a win by either team will set up a tie for the first-place spot in the ACC.

The N.C. State Wolfpack and Miami also have a good chance of contending for the No. 1 spot, as both are only a game behind the Tigers.

With only a handful of games until tournament play commences, only time will tell what the final standings will look like come March.

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Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
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