Clemson Men's Basketball Falls in Miami, 95-82

Halftime lead melts quickly as Hurricanes score at will in second half
Jan 3, 2024; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell looks on against
Jan 3, 2024; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell looks on against / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Things were looking fairly good for Clemson Men's Basketball Wednesday night in Miami with the Tigers leading 41-35 at the half.

Still, there were nagging doubts, signs that all was not well, as Brad Brownell's team missed multiple opportunities to extend their lead and quiet the announced crowd of 6,800.

Sure, Clemson outshot Miami in the first half, but the Hurricanes showed they could get open, displayed more athleticism and an ability to create shots that by and large Clemson didn't.

But we knew Miami could shoot and wanted to play fast, and the Hurricanes did both in the second half.

Miami got only 30 minutes and 0 points from their bench, but they did get 36 points in the paint and 15 fast break points and shot 53% from the field and an unreal 75% from the field in the second half.

All five Clemson starters reached double figures in points, with Joe Girard leading the way with 18, P.J. Hall adding 17 before fouling out, Chase Hunter 16, Chauncey Wiggins 12 and Ian Schieffelin 11.

Schieffelin led the Tigers with 11 rebounds, with Hall adding 6.

The Hurricanes outscored Clemson 60-41 in the second half and had three players that scored at least 23 points, with Nigel Pack blistering the nets for 25 and Matthew Cleveland and Norchad Omier totaling 23 points each.

Clemson, in what Brad Brownell said may have been the worst half of defense in his tenure, had no answer on the defensive end as the Canes finished with 9 layups and 6 dunks for the game.

We knew the Tiger defense wasn't at an elite level, but the athleticism of Miami exposed the Tigers at a level that neither Alabama or Memphis was able to. Clemson was repeatedly beaten to spots, either on offensive drives by Miami or when competing for loose ball rebounds.

The Hurricanes outrebounded the Tigers 36-32 for the game, but when the game was on the line, Miami had their way on the boards.

Clemson Men's Basketball gets reality check against Miami

For Clemson, the game had to be a reality check after a largely positive first 12 games of the season and despite the Tigers fast start the Brownell haters are out in full force after one bad game, albeit one that they led at the half, on the road, against a top 50ish team.

The schedule doesn't lighten up any time soon, as there are no more Queens College's or Radford's on the schedule.

The North Carolina Tar Heels visit Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday, before the Tigers travel to Blacksburg, Virginia to face Virginia Tech next Wednesday.

Perspective is important, especially after a loss like this. Clemson is a good college basketball team and that shouldn't be lost in the aftermath of an opponent shooting a level that will likely not be repeated.

That doesn't mean there won't be games like this and losses along the way, but it's still disappointing when a six point halftime lead turns into a 13 point loss.