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Courtside blog: Clemson 91, UM 72 (F)

BANKUNITED CENTER -- The Canes are opening ACC play tonight. I'll be here to provide you with my thoughts as this one rolls along. Clemson (11-0) is going to be a real tough opponent for Frank Haith's team.

> No band and hardly and fans, but this one has started just as intense as we expected it -- only fitting since Kimbo Slice is among the 3,000 or so in attendance. Cyrus McGowan scored UM's first nine points, showing Clemson forward Trevor Booker and everyone else he came to play tonight. The Tigers came out with their full court press early, doubling Jack McClinton at times. But UM has been able to beat it down court for open shots. The Canes don't have any turnovers four minutes in -- a very good sign against this Clemson defense.

> Since Cyrus McGowan tied the score at 7 with 17:39 left, UM has gone on a 12-2 run, turning up their defensive intensity. Sophomore point guard Eddie Rios has scored the last five points for UM. I'm happy for the kid. After turning the ball over on a bad pass, he rallied, knocked the ball away, came back down the floor and hit a three-pointer. Lance Hurdle, whom Haith had run to the substitution table after Rios' errant pass, quickly returned to the bench.

> So much for that 21-9 lead and great defensive start (Clemson started 3 of 14 from the field). The Tigers have started hitting three-pointers and creating Canes turnovers in a flurry to tie the score at 21 with 9:05 left in the half.

> It's hard to believe bad a free throw shooting team the Canes have become. UM came in shooting 67 percent, but is 2-of-9 from the stripe tonight in the first half. Last year, UM shot a shade under 75 percent for the season.

> Here's the only stat you need to know in order to explain UM's first half: 16 Canes turnovers. That's two shy of the season high against Ohio State.

> Clemson has continued to keep its distance from Canes here early in the second half. Dwayne Collins and Jack McClinton have begun to step up their game. But James Dews has missed three three-point attempts and just hasn't been able to hit the big shot to help Miami get back into this game.

> Miami is starting to turn up its defensive intensity after falling behind by 11 here in the second half. But they are going to have to start making free throws to have a chance down the stretch. Canes have started 5 of 16 from the line with 13:12 left.