CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It came a few days later than hoped for, but Miami finally got its first outright regular-season conference title Saturday afternoon. With senior Kenny Kadji recording his third consecutive double-double, the Hurricanes pulled away over the final 11 minutes to post a 62-49 victory over Clemson and finish the regular season with a 15-3 record in Atlantic Coast Conference play. That assured them of finishing alone in first place no matter what second-place, four-loss Duke does at North Carolina Saturday night. The sixth-ranked Hurricanes, who lost the opportunity to clinch it earlier in the week when they lost at home to Georgia Tech Wednesday night. They also matched their best conference finish in program history and tied a school record for number of overall victories in improving to 24-6 overall. The 1998-99 Miami team finished 15-3 in the Big East but that was good for only second place. The 2001-02 Hurricanes were 24-8. But it didn't come easy. The Hurricanes were tied at the half and didn't begin to pull away from the Tigers until nearly the midway point of the second half. They got their first double-digit lead at 38-28 when Durand Scott hit a pair of free throws with 11:23 left in the game. After Clemson cut that down to 38-32, Shake Larkin hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the clinching run. Kadji finished with a game-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Larkin, who didn't score his first point until the 8:47 mark of the game, finished with 11. Jordan Roper led Clemson (13-17, 5-13) with 12 points, but all came in the first six minutes of the game. He didn't score again after Larkin, a sophomore who didn't start on Miami's Senior Day, entered the game at the first media timeout and took on the defensive assignment of the Tigers' freshman guard. Clemson dropped its sixth in a row. Notes: This is only the second regular-season title for Miami in the program's history. The Hurricanes shared the 1999-2000 Big East title with Syracuse with a 13-3 record. ... Clemson finished winless in six meetings against ranked teams. ... K.J. Daniels saw his first action for Clemson after sitting out the previous three games with an ankle injury. He scored nine points off the bench for the Tigers. ... Larkin (13.8) and Durand Scott (13.3), Miami's leading and third-leading scorer, respectively, were scoreless in the first half.
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