2/8/2015 vs. Miami
Result: L 45-56
CU Leading Scorer: Jordan Roper (10), Donte Grantham (10)
Key Stat: Miami hit 10 three-pointers on 39% shooting
- Miami coach Jim Larranaga made a great observation about the Clemson winning streak: Clemson had been starting off fast in every game, and their opposition had been starting off slowly. Miami was able to keep this from happening to them as Clemson only took a 9-8 lead into the TV timeout at the 14:58 mark after the first whistle of the game.
- Clemson seemed to keep the lead and control of the game early until Miami forward Ivan Cruz Uceda's back-to-back three's tied it up at 15 at the 9:05 mark. Uceda then went on to hit another three at the 7:50 mark to give Miami a 9-2 run. Clemson answered back with a 7-0 run of their own to go into halftime with the lead at 25-24. Clemson held Miami to 29% shooting in the first half, but Miami's 3 point shooting is what kept Clemson from having a larger lead in the first half. Both Cruz Uceda and Sheldon McClellan were on target from three tonight hitting 6 of Miami's 10 3's and shooting 55% from beyond the arc.
- After sizing up the starting lineups at the beginning of the game and realizing that Jaron Blossomgame had a 6-5 guy on him to start the game, one would expect that Clemson's leading scorer may be a match-up problem for Miami and may be able to have a big game. The exact opposite was true of Blossomgame in this game as he was extremely quiet, getting an easy bucket early then not taking another shot till his next points at the 11:22 mark. He only took 5 shots all game and finished with only 6 points and 4 rebounds. Clemson must figure out a way to get him opportunities to score the basketball in their offense for this to be a post-season team.
- Clemson's struggles in the 3rd quarter of games flared back up again being out-scored by Miami 20-7 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Miami was pushing the tempo, and didn't miss a shot in the second half till the 13:23 mark.
- The first 10 minutes of the second half saw Miami go on a 13-0 run that was too much for the Clemson offense to overcome the rest of the game. Clemson also went back on one of their signature scoring droughts staying stuck at 28 points for what seemed like forever.
- Landry Nnoko stayed out of foul trouble, but got absolutely out-worked by Miami big man, Tonye Jekiri. Nnoko had 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block compared to Jekiri who had 6 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Jekiri was extremely crucial in the Hurricanes victory tonight.
- Clemson veterans Rod Hall, Damarcus Harrison, and Nnoko went a combined 4-26 from the field. That kind of shooting performance is tough to overcome, and it is even tougher when it comes from your experienced players who are the leaders on the team.
- As poorly as some of the veterans played, the young guys were a bright spot in this game. Donte Grantham had a good game overall scoring 10 points on 4-9 shooting and leading the Tigers with 7 rebounds. Austin Ajukwa also provided solid minutes and energy again scoring 4 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in 16 minutes of action off the bench.
- The real bright spot for Clemson was Josh Smith who only played 11 minutes, but was able to score 6 points on 3-4 shooting. Smith was crucial in Clemson's last charge at Miami in the last 10 minutes of the game that saw Clemson cut the Miami lead to 3. Clemson moved to a 2-3 zone during this time and forced Miami to fire from outside. Miami went cold till Manu Lecomte hit back-to-back 3's at the 3:43 mark to all but seal it for Miami as the Hurricanes went on to win 56-45.
- Clemson went 5-20 from three and 33% from the field. Much of it was due to Clemson's poor execution and shooting, but Miami's defense was very solid throughout the game and had a big impact on these numbers. Jekiri made it extremely hard for Clemson to score anything inside unless they got it in transition.
- If Clemson had won this game, Tuesday night against Notre Dame at home would have been one of the most important games of the season. Nonetheless, the game remains very big, and the NCAA tournament talk should be put on hold while the Tigers continue to just build towards an opportunity to play in a post-season tournament.