CLEMSON, S.C. — With their fifth consecutive win, the Tigers completed a season sweep of Miami by defeating the Hurricanes at home on Saturday. Clemson pulled away down the stretch at Littlejohn Coliseum and picked up a 66-58 victory. The triumph provided Head Coach Brad Brownell with his 200th win at Clemson and also wrapped up the Tigers’ first undefeated stretch (5-0) in the month of February since 1990.
In the shooting department, Clemson (15-5, 9-5) was an efficient 49.1 percent from the floor, while Miami (7-15, 3-14) finished with a shooting percentage of 44.0. The Tigers made 11-of-22 3-point attempts and scored 15 points off the Hurricanes’ 13 turnovers. Miami won the rebounding battle 32-24, but Clemson’s bench outscored Miami’s bench 21-0. Additionally, the Tigers scored 22 points in the paint and dished out 14 assists.
Al-Amir Dawes and Aamir Simms led the Tigers in scoring, as they both racked up 19 points on the day. Dawes provided Clemson with a big lift off the bench by making 7-of-9 field goal attempts, including a perfect 4-for-4 output from 3-point range. He also nabbed three steals. Simms, who played the entire game and corralled six rebounds, went 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-4 from deep. Hunter Tyson also made 3-of-4 3-pointers and grabbed six boards. He finished with 10 points. Miami’s Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 28 points.
The Tigers came out firing, as Alex Hemenway and Simms made a 3-pointer apiece in the first minute of the game. Dawes had the hot hand during the opening half, making four Tiger baskets in a row at one point. An offensive board and an ensuing assist by Simms culminated in a three-ball by Dawes at the 8:38 mark. Dawes proceeded to steal the rock and drive to the hoop for a game-tying layup. The next time down the floor for Clemson, Dawes sank a go-ahead trey. The floor general once again tallied a steal after that, and he then laid it in, placing the Tigers ahead by three. At the intermission, Clemson led Miami 34-30. Nick Honor beat the buzzer at the end of the half by evading defenders on his way down the lane en route to hitting an impressive layup.
Tyson and Dawes netted shots from beyond the arc in the early goings of the second half, helping Clemson maintain its lead. A block by Simms set the stage for a Tiger possession featuring plenty of savvy passing before Dawes knocked down a corner three. Clemson sported a 13-point lead — its largest of the game — at that point, but the ‘Canes rattled off 10 straight points to pull within a basket of the Tigers with 5:16 remaining. Simms and Tyson made 3-pointers on back-to-back Clemson possessions soon after that, though, and the Tigers ultimately came away with a 66-58 win.
Clemson is set to go on the road to play Syracuse (13-8, 7-7) on Wednesday, March 3. The Orange will host the Tigers at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. The contest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and air on ACC Network. Earlier in the season, Clemson beat Syracuse 78-61 at home.
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“This was a nice win today to finish up a great week for our team. Miami was tough to deal with. Isaiah Wong’s a terrific player. Miami made some shots and kept it close. We had to shoot the ball exceptionally well. I was really happy to see our players execute the way they did and make shots. We hit 11 threes. This was a challenging second half, but I thought our guys responded well. Guys made some big plays for us.”
On Clemson’s key performers:“Clyde [Trapp] was really good off the pass in the second half. He made some good assists. Al [-Amir Dawes] gave us a big jolt coming off the bench and hitting threes. His defense was good, also. Aamir [Simms] was terrific. His efficiency was incredible. That’s why he’s a really good player. He makes threes and can drive by you. He can score in the post, too. He was outstanding today.”
On Al-Amir Dawes’ performance:“He’s really important. He brings a defensive presence to our team, and we really like his confidence and swagger. He was terrific today. If he has a poor game, we don’t win. He’s been practicing better and his confidence has come back.”
On winning 200 games at Clemson:“I’m proud of it because of the longevity. I’ve had the privilege of coaching here for 11 years, and I feel very honored and blessed about it. My family and I have put our heart and soul into Clemson in terms of fundraising and a lot of things that involve more than just coaching the players. I’ve had the privilege of working with some really talented assistant coaches along the way, and the staff I’m working with now is terrific. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching a lot of great players here and still have close relationships with many of them, and that means a lot. I’m very thankful for having the opportunity to coach here for as long as I have, and I hope we can have some high-level success moving forward.”