CLEMSON, S.C. - Miami's charmed season continued Sunday night, but it took a few last-minute heroics to keep it going.
No. 3 Miami rallied from a four-point deficit in the final 1:01 and held off hard-luck Clemson 45-43 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Miami improved to 21-3 overall and 12-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, becoming the first team to win its first 12 ACC games since Duke went 16-0 in 1999.
The Hurricanes, who have won three ACC games by two points or less this season, are poised to move up to No. 2 in Monday's polls following No. 2 Duke's loss at Maryland on Saturday.
Miami has not lost since a 57-55 overtime defeat at the hands of Indiana State on Christmas Day, winning 13 consecutive games during that span.
"They're having one of those magical years where something's going to happen for them to turn it their way," Clemson coach Brad Brownell.
Just the opposite appears to be true for Clemson (13-13, 5-8), which has lost four in a row and was beaten 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.
Clemson's 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 Miami lead. Hall missed a layup and K.J. McDaniels and Booker both missed tip-in attempts in the final seconds as Miami held on.
Kadji was the lone Miami player in double figures with 12 points.
"I thought it was an exciting game there at the end," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "Everything that we could possibly do, we did.
"I don't even remember what happened (on Kadji's late 3-pointer). It's just one of those things where there are no plays. It's just 'play basketball.' "
The Hurricanes, who are 7-0 in ACC road games this season, once again found a way to win despite being held to their lowest point total of the season, committing 13 turnovers and shooting just 34.6 percent from the field.
Durand Scott was held to a season-low three points, Reggie Johnson matched his season low with two points and Shane Larkin was held to only seven points, half of his season average. But the Hurricanes persisted.
"We were able to stick together, and that makes a huge difference," Larranaga said. "It was just a tremendous defensive battle. I've known Brad Brownell for a long time, and every time our teams have gone head-to-head, it's been very much like that."
Clemson lost despite a career-best game from freshman 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 9-for-45 (20 percent) from the field. Clemson also struggled from the free-throw line, converting on just 5 of 13 attempts (38.5 percent), including just 3-of-10 in the second half.
"If we make some free throws we win by six or eight points," Brownell said.
Miami managed to take an 18-16 lead into halftime, but it didn't come easily.
Both teams struggled mightily in the early going, combining 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 Booker. But the Hurricanes responded, scoring six of the final seven points of the half to regain the lead.
NOTES: The game featured the top two shot-blocking teams in the ACC, but both were held below their season averages. Clemson, which leads the league with a 5.3 average, blocked four Miami shots while Miami, which averages 5.0 per game, totaled three blocks. ...Miami was the highest ranked team to play at Littlejohn Coliseum since Clemson defeated No. 3 Duke in 2009 by a 74-47 score. ...Clemson has played four of the Top 10 teams in the nation this season. ...Larranaga had a 6-4 record against Brownell when he coached at George Mason and Brownell was at Colonial Athletic Association rival UNC Wilmington. ...Clemson's McDaniels, a 6-6 sophomore forward, has blocked at least one shot in 15 straight games.