CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Hurricanes kept finding the open man, shot well and produced one spurt in each half. The result was the highest point total of the season against stingy Clemson — and a victory.
Miami had 19 assists and five players in double figures, shot 52 percent, missed only one free throw and beat Clemson 76-73.
"We shared the ball very well," coach Jim Larranaga said. "When we share the ball, we're a much better team."
The Hurricanes' offense jelled against a team ranked 19th in the nation in scoring defense at 58.6 points per game.
"They had a nice mix," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "They went inside-out. They made nine 3s, and they got some interior scoring. When you do that, you're hard to guard."
Guard Malcolm Grant came out of a slump to score 16 points, and center Kenny Kadji had 14. Freshman Shane Larkin sank both ends of a one-and-one — his only points — for the game's final points with 5.4 seconds to go.
Grant then intercepted a pass by Tanner Smith to seal the victory.
"We all just stuck together," Grant said. "We were tested tonight. They took the lead at crunch time, and there was no bickering. We stayed together, and we got the win."
Miami (10-6, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the first time in six games against Clemson since February 2008. It was the first ACC win for Larranaga, the Hurricanes' first-year coach, and he was glad not to start 0-3 in the league.
"I'll sleep a little better tonight — maybe three hours instead of none," he said.
Clemson (9-9, 1-3) lost by three points or less for the fifth time this season.
"We just haven't been able to find ways to grind out some of these close games," Brownell said.
The Hurricanes had runs of 13 consecutive points in the first half and 12 points in the second half. Even so, Clemson twice had the ball trailing by 3 in the final minute.
Smith shot an air ball on a fall-away jumper before Milton Jennings scored on a follow to make it 74-73. After Larkin's free throws, Smith had the ball in transition above the top of the key but threw a pass directly to Grant.
"A little bit ill-advised," Brownell said.
Smith scored 18 points in the first 17 minutes but hurt his right hand. He continued to play and finished with 23 points, but he also had five turnovers.
Clemson shot 0 for 8 from 3-point range in the second half.
"We just didn't stay patient," Brownell said. "That was part of the problem."
Grant, the Hurricanes' leading scorer this season, shot 4 for 7 from 3-point range and had four assists. He scored in double figures for the first time since the death of his brother from a heart attack last month.
The senior said he knew his slump was over when he made his first two shots, both 3-pointers.
"It's a great relief," he said. "I just really felt relaxed out there. I'm feeling like I'm back."
The Hurricanes took a seven-point lead early in the second half, but Clemson gradually erased the gap and went up 60-59 on a follow by Catalin Baciu with 8:20 left.
The Tigers' lead reached 64-60, but the Hurricanes responded with their 12-0 run. Kadji's two free throws put them ahead to stay, 65-64. That was the 11th and final lead change.
Rion Brown scored on an alley-oop dunk for a 74-66 lead with 1:31 left, before Clemson made one final charge.
The Hurricanes scored on six consecutive possessions during a 13-0 run that gave them a 19-8 lead after 6½ minutes. Smith led the Tigers' comeback, and a 3-pointer by Bryan Narcisse pulled them even at 29-all.
A pair of three-point plays by Kadji helped Miami take a 42-39 halftime lead.