Tigers Snap Skid With OT Win Over Miami

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CLEMSON - Vernon Hamilton celebrated senior night by scoring six of his 10 points in overtime, leading Clemson to a 74-70 victory Wednesday night over visiting Miami.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak and finally gets the Tigers their 20th win of the season (20-9, 6-9 ACC) - just the eighth 20-win season in school history. Miami falls to 11-8 (4-11 ACC).

The win also marked the fourth different school head coach Oliver Purnell has guided to a 20-win season. He is the seventh coach in NCAA history to do so.

"It wasn't a pretty win. But they found a way to win," said Purnell. "It seemed like a lot of momentum was going against them. There was some of the 'Here we go again' in the stands, and maybe press row. We just needed the dam to break..."

Clemson had chances to win in the final minute of regulation. James Mays missed a pair of free throws with :59 remaining and the game tied at 59-59.

Then after stopping the Hurricanes on the ensuing possession, Clemson held for the final possession. But Mays missed a short jumper, Miami rebounded and time expired.

In the extra period Hamilton scored on a pair of shots from the field - one a tough, driving scoop shot in the lane. He later hit two free throws with :37 left to put the Tigers ahead 70-64. Clemson scored its last four points of the game from the line - K.C. Rivers hitting three-of-four in the final seconds to help seal the victory.

"I thought our defense really stepped up even before overtime," said Purnell. "We did some trapping in the half court...I thought it continued in the overtime period. I thought our press came back to life in the overtime period.

"We needed a win, and now we've got all kinds of possibilities. We've got a tough game at Virginia Tech. If we get that one, and maybe a couple in the tournament, who knows?...We've just got to keep fighting, and right now it's a one game at a time thing for us."

Mays finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers, his first double-double in exactly a month. Rivers added 14 and Trevor Booker 12. Booker also blocked three shots, all of them coming at seemingly important times down the stretch.

Jack McClinton, pressed into the starting lineup because of the suspension of Denis Clemente, led Miami with 21 points. Anthony Harris finished with 15.

Clemson won despite a 14-of-31 (45 percent) shooting night from the free throw line.

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