Jack McClinton's slap cost him and the 21st-ranked Miami Hurricanes dearly in Tuesday night's prime time showdown against Ohio State. But it will not cost McClinton or Miami any further repercussions.
The Atlantic Coast Conference reviewed tape of McClinton's slap of Ohio State guard Anthony Crater and determined Thursday UM's star guard did not use malicious intent when he grazed Crater's face with his fingertips. Therefore, McClinton will not be suspended an additional game and will be in the lineup when UM (4-2) plays at Kentucky (5-2) in another prime time ESPN showdown Saturday at 5:30.
Miami blew a 14-point halftime lead without its leading scorer Tuesday and struggled to protect the ball because it was short-handed at guard in the second half. Without McClinton and with backup point guard Eddie Rios suspended indefinitely for violating a team rule, Miami (4-2) had to rely on senior Lance Hurdle as its only ballhandler Tuesday.
Hurdle played a career-high 37 minutes and led UM with 14 points. But Hurdle admitted he was gassed at the end. UM committed a season-high 18 turnovers and struggled mightily against Ohio State's full-court press. Tuesday was the first time in McClinton's career he drew a flagrant foul and the first time he had been ejected.
UM coach Frank Haith told ESPN Wednesday morning he was even more angered about the incident after he had a chance to see replays of it himself.
"After watching the tape I was disappointed and I felt that Jack reacted to being hit in the face,'' Haith told ESPN. "I was told by the official, Bryan Kersey, that [Crater] had bloodied his nose and that's why Jack was ejected. I never saw any blood. The kid stayed in the game. Jack was reacting to being hit in the face.''
Haith told ESPN he's concerned a future opponent could try to bait McClinton, who leads Miami in scoring with 15.2 points a game.
"Jack is a great kid and I don't see that being an issue with Jack, but I do worry how other teams may try to antagonize him, physically taunting him,'' Haith said. "Jack does have to be smarter and play with more composure. He's just got to play.''