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Miami 45, Clemson 43

The SportsXchange

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Miami's charmed season continued Sunday night as the Hurricanes rallied from a four-point deficit in the final minute to hold off Clemson 45-43 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Miami improved to 21-3 overall and 12-0 in the ACC, becoming the first ACC team to win its first 12 league games since Duke went 16-0 in 1999.

The third-ranked Hurricanes have won three ACC games by two points or less this season.

For Clemson, the defeat was simply more heartbreak. The Tigers (13-12, 5-8) lost by five points or less for the fifth time this season.

Clemson held a 42-38 lead before Miami's Rion Brown hit a runner in the lane and drew a foul with 1:01 left. He completed the three-point play, pulling the Hurricanes within 42-41.

Devin Booker hit the first of two free throws with 55 seconds remaining for a 43-41 lead, but Kenny Kadji buried a 3-pointer from the left wing with 34.7 seconds left to give Miami the lead for good.

Clemson's Rod Hall was called for a charge with 13 seconds left and Trey McKinney Jones hit one free throw for a 45-43 lead. Clemson's Hall missed a layup and K.J. McDaniel's missed a tip-in attempt in the final seconds as Miami held on its 12th consecutive victory.

Miami, which is poised to rise to No. 2 in Monday's polls -- its highest ranking ever -- hasn't lost since a 57-55 overtime defeat against Indiana State on Christmas Day.

Kadji was the lone Miami player in double figures with 12 points.

Clemson lost despite a sterling defensive effort that forced 13 Miami turnovers and a career-best game from guard Jordan Roper. Roper connected on 8-of-11 shots to finish with a career-high 19 points and also had four steals.

But it wasn't enough as Roper's teammates went a combined 11 for 45 (24.4%) from the field. Clemson also struggled from the free throw line, converting on just 5 of 13 attempts (38.5%), including just 3 of 10 in the second half.

Miami took an 18-16 lead into halftime, but it didn't come easily.

Both teams struggled mightily in the early going. Clemson and Miami combined for seven turnovers and just four field goals over the game's first 10 minutes.

The Tigers made just one of their first 17 shots while the Hurricanes connected on three of their first 13 attempts.

Miami led 8-2 before Clemson's Adonis Filer put an end to the Tigers' nine-minute scoring drought by burying a 3-pointer from the left wing. That shot ended a streak of 15 consecutive misses by the Tigers, but also seemed to awaken the team.

Clemson went on to connect on six of its next eight shots to pull ahead 15-12 on a fast break dunk by Devin Booker. But the Hurricanes responded with six of the final seven points of the half to regain the lead.

Clemson freshman Jordan Roper and Miami's Kenny Kadji were the only two players to make more than one basket in the opening 20 minutes.
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