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Late 3-pointers lift Miami over Tech

POSTED: February 29, 2008 5:01 a.m.
/The Associated Press

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt reacts to a traveling call on Matt Causey Sunday during the first half in Atlanta. Miami won, 64-63.

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ATLANTA — The statistics say Jack McClinton is the ACC’s best 3-point shooter.

Georgia Tech won’t argue the point.

McClinton sank the go-ahead 3, his sixth of the game, with 45 seconds left and Miami held on in the final seconds for a 64-63 win over the Yellow Jackets on Sunday.

McClinton led Miami with 23 points while setting season highs for 3-pointers made and attempted (14). He leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in 3-point accuracy (43.5 percent) and 2.71 3-pointers per game.

McClinton missed his first four 3s but was 6-for-10 the rest of the way, including his only 3 of the first half to give Miami a 27-26 lead at the break. He made four 3-pointers in the final 7 minutes.

"I wasn’t discouraged," said McClinton of his slow start. "I didn’t make my first four, but you make a couple and you start feeling it. That one late in the first half gave me some momentum."

McClinton’s last 3-pointer gave Miami a 63-60 lead with 45 seconds left.

"I was at the right spot at the right time," McClinton said. "I trusted my teammates to get me the shots, and I knocked them down."

He made one of two free throws with 30 seconds left to push the lead to 64-60.

Georgia Tech’s Matt Causey, who scored 20 points, hit a twisting 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. Causey was guarded closely by Lance Hurdle on the shot. Hurdle was not called for a foul as Causey was forced to duck under the defender’s arms to get off the shot.

"It wasn’t a foul," said Miami coach Frank Haith. "I thought we played good defense. ... People are going to make plays and Causey made a heck of a shot."

Miami (17-7 overall, 4-6 in the ACC) completed a sweep of the two regular-season games with Georgia Tech (11-13, 4-6), which suffered its third straight loss.

Georgia Tech fell to 4-6 at home, including a 1-4 mark in home ACC games. The Yellow Jackets have lost the four home conference games by a total of six points.

"It was a tough one to swallow," said Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who said he was satisfied with his team’s defense on McClinton until the final minutes.

"Until the end, I thought we did a pretty decent job," Hewitt said. "He took 20 shots and made eight. Purely on percentages, you like that, but at the end we did lose him a couple of times."

Haith said the key for McClinton, a 6-foot-1 senior from Baltimore, was to wait for good shots.

"We were saying we need to get Jack to be patient, that he’s going to be fine," Haith said, referring to McClinton’s early misses. "We don’t need to rush things for Jack right now, and he’s going to have opportunities as the game loosens up. We don’t want him to feel like we have to rush when we’re struggling to get Jack the ball. I thought that was the key, that he got into a rhythm in the second half."

McClinton scored 16 points in the second half.

"I got my second wind," he said. "You have to let the game come to you. In the first half I was pressing a little."

James Dews had 11 points for Miami. Jeremis Smith had 11 for Georgia Tech.

McClinton’s fifth 3-pointer tied the game at 57-57 with 2:16 left, but Anthony Morrow answered with a 3 for Georgia Tech. Miami pulled even again at 60-60 on Anthony King’s three-point play with 1:27 left.

Causey scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, in the first five minutes to give Georgia Tech a 10-5 lead, but the Yellow Jackets were hurt by 15 turnovers in the half. Georgia Tech set a season high with 22 turnovers overall while scoring its fewest points of the season.

Miami led 27-26 at the break on McClinton’s first 3-pointer after four misses.

Causey, who was hyperventilating, remained in the Georgia Tech lockerroom for the start of the second half. The senior returned to the bench less than three minutes into the second half and entered the game at the 15:48 mark.

"I didn’t think he was going to be able to play," Hewitt said. "He came down and said he felt better and obviously he played really well in that second half. He made some big plays for us."

McClinton also leads the ACC in free-throw accuracy (91.0 percent, seventh in the nation). He made only one of two free throws, but Miami made 17 of 21 while Georgia Tech was only 12 of 21.



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