Isaiah Wong scored 20 points for the second straight game and Miami became the first No. 13 seed to ever reach the quarterfinals in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, upsetting No. 5 seed Clemson 67-64 on Wednesday.
Miami (10-16) advances to play fourth-seeded Georgia Tech on Thursday. The Hurricanes lost the regular-season meeting 87-60 on Feb. 20 — but it comes with an asterisk as Wong sprained his ankle in the first half and didn’t play in the second.
The Hurricanes have earned consecutive victories in the ACC tournament for the first time since 2013, when they won the title. Their three-game winning streak overall is their longest since they were 3-0, before a wave of injuries began to take a toll.
“This group has been through so much adversity, so many injuries, so many close losses,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said after his 200th win with the program. “But the guys are having fun and enjoying playing with each other. I think they’re enjoying, ‘Hey, I don’t come out. I get to play the whole game.’ And so they keep plugging away. I’m very, very happy.”
Miami, which played with just six scholarship players, had a 65-59 lead with 1:36 left before turning it over twice in the final 40 seconds to keep Clemson in it.
Clyde Trapp sank a long 3-pointer to pull Clemson to 65-62, and after Miami turned it over under it's basket, Al-Amir Dawes sank two free throws at 36.1 to make it a one-point game.
Wong was trapped near mid-court and threw it away, and Clemson called its last timeout at 14.3. Nick Honor got into the lane for a runner that bounced off and Wong secured the rebound and hit two free throws at 2.9. Clemson turned it over at half-court.
Anthony Walker added 15 points and Kameron McGusty scored 14 for Miami.
Walker made two 3-pointers during a 14-2 run to give Miami a 57-50 lead with 8:16 left. Deng Gak had two dunks during the spurt and Wong capped it on an easy layup following a turnover.
Aamir Simms led Clemson (16-7) with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Hunter Tyson had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Trapp scored 10. Starter Alex Hemenway, who was wearing a plastic mask after breaking his nose, scored five points.
Clemson made 8 of 11 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes — the most in any half this season — to help build a 36-32 lead. Miami stayed in it by shooting 58.3%, making 14 baskets on just two assists. The Tigers finished 12 of 23 from distance.
Clemson is expected to make the NCAA Tournament after starting the season winning nine of their first 10 — with wins over currently ranked Purdue, Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Florida State.
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