GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Al-Amir Dawes scored 18 points, and eighth-seeded Clemson defeated ninth-seeded Miami 69-64 on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Aamir Simms added 14 points and 10 rebounds and John Newman had 11 points for Clemson, which finished 18 of 19 from the free-throw line.
Five-foot-7 Chris Lykes led Miami with 21 points off the bench including five 3s and DJ Vasiljevic added 17.
In what amounted to a 3-point shooting contest for most of the game, the two teams combined for 58 attempts, making just 18.
Both teams entered with 15-15 records, looking to keep their postseason berths alive.
Miami defeated Clemson 73-68 in overtime on the road on New Year’s Eve and this game was every bit as tight with neither team leading by more than seven points until Clemson took over late.
The Tigers outscored Miami 16-11 in the final four minutes.
With the game tied at 53, Curran Scott made two free throws and Dawes added four more to put the Tigers ahead by six. Hunter Tyson then drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Dawes added two more free throws to cap an 11-0 run and give Clemson its biggest lead of the game at 64-53 with 1:04 remaining.
Things got a little scary at the end for Clemson after Isaiah Wong stole an inbounds pass and converted a baseline 3 to cut the lead to 68-64. Miami’s Anthony Walker added another steal and was fouled, but missed both free throws with 10 seconds left.
Miami: The Hurricanes lacked an inside game and relied too heavily on long 3s. It caught up to them as they finished just 11 of 36 from beyond the arc.
Clemson: The Tigers are going to live and die by the 3-pointer, so they will have to shoot better than 7 of 22 to move ahead in the ACC Tournament.