Hurricanes Erase 13-point Lead, Nip Tigers in ACC Opener


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GREENSBORO, N.C. - Denis Clemente hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds left to help Miami rally from a 12-point deficit and beat Clemson 66-63 in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday.

Guillermo Diaz scored a game-high 22 points and assisted on Clemente's 3 for the eighth-seeded Hurricanes (16-14), who trailed most of the way before making a late spurt to earn their first tourney win. Miami advanced to face top-seeded No. 3 Duke in Friday's quarterfinals.

Vernon Hamilton scored 17 points for the Tigers (18-12), who dominated the boards and hit 10 3-pointers but shot just 29 percent for the game to fall to 14-53 all-time in the tournament. Clemson earned a 48-38 rebounding advantage, including 24 offensive boards, but shot just 9-for-35 after the break.

The Hurricanes appeared headed for a second-straight first-round exit from the tournament, trailing 48-36 with about 12 minutes to play. Diaz scored nine points to help Miami outscore Clemson 30-15 the rest of the way.

Diaz first made a 3 to cut the deficit to 60-59 with 2:05 left, then drove the baseline to find Clemente alone in the right corner for a 3 and a 62-60 lead. It was only Clemente's second 3 since hitting two against Boston College on Jan. 21, a span in which he missed 14 straight before hitting one in the regular-season finale against Florida State.

Diaz added two free throws to give Miami a 64-60 lead with 32.2 seconds left.

Clemson still had a chance to tie it when Clemente and Anthony King each went 1-for-2 at the line in the final 21 seconds, but the Tigers came up empty on two possessions.

On the last, King blocked Shawan Robinson's 3-point attempt, but Robinson corralled the ball and found Hamilton on the left side. Hamilton pump-faked to let a defender fly by, then hoisted a 3 that clanged off the rim at the horn.

Clemente finished with 10 points for Miami.

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