Jacksonville Sports Day

ACC: Miami Falls at Clemson, 66-58; Wong Finishes with Game-High 28 Points

FILE PHOTO: Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

CLEMSON, S.C. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team dropped a 66-58 decision to Clemson Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 28 points for the Hurricanes, who once again had only six available scholarship players, yet still managed to cut a 12-point second-half deficit down to three, before coming up short.

“I thought our guys played really, really hard and, for a major portion of the game, we were playing really, really well. We executed the plan extremely well,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “Unfortunately, the physicality of the game was just a little too much when we tried to drive the ball to the rim. That ended up [leading to] some turnovers, some charges, some steals by Clemson. But you’ve got to give them credit. I thought they played well.”

After Clemson (15-5, 9-5 ACC) scored the first six points, the Hurricanes logged 17 of the next 23, capped with by a 12-2 surge, to take a 19-12 lead with 12:56 on the clock. After making eight of its first 11 shots, though, Miami (7-15, 3-14 ACC) went just 4-of-15 the rest of the half, including 0-of-5 in the last 5:10, and the Tigers took a 34-30 edge into the locker room.

Al-Amir Dawes scored 12 points in the first 12 minutes for Clemson, which shot 5-of-10 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range in the opening half compared to Miami’s 3-of-9 (33.3 percent) clip.

The Tigers went on a 12-2 run, featuring a trio of 3-pointers and a three-point play, midway through the second half to take a game-high 13-point lead, 57-44, with 9:17 to go.

Shortly thereafter, Miami countered with a 10-0 burst to cut its deficit to three, 57-54, with 5:16 on the clock. Clemson, however, answered right back with eight points in a row to go up, 65-54, with just 1:59 to play, putting the game out of reach.

Wong’s 28 points came on 10-of-18 shooting, including a 3-of-6 mark from beyond the arc. He also connected on all five of his free-throw attempts and committed just one turnover in 39 minutes of action.

“I think Isaiah Wong had another great game. I mean, he had half our points,” Larrañaga said. “He is making shots. He is distributing the ball pretty well. He’s playing very hard on defense.”

The only other Hurricane to finish with double digits in the scoring column was sophomore forward Anthony Walker, who logged 13 points. The Baltimore native added a game-high 10 rebounds to extend his team lead with a fourth double-double this year.

Senior guard Elijah Olaniyi nearly joined him in the double-double category, notching eight points and nine rebounds, the latter mark his second-highest total of the year. Redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty dished out a game-best seven assists, five of which came in the first 11 minutes, to set a new career high.

Senior forward Aamir Simms co-led the Tigers with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-4 mark from deep, and played all 40 minutes.

Dawes also scored 19 points, finishing 7-of-9 from the floor and making all four of his 3-point attempts. Junior forward Hunter Tyson added 10 points in Clemson’s victory.

Clemson finished 11-of-22 (50.0 percent) from long range, while Miami shot just 5-of-15 (33.3 percent) on 3-pointers. The Tigers also had a 15-6 edge in points off turnovers and a 21-0 advantage in bench points against the shorthanded Hurricanes.

Miami is back in action in just over 48 hours, as it squares off with No. 15/14 Virginia Monday at 6 p.m., with action set to televised live on ACC Network from John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.

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