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Joseph Girard III, No. 16 Clemson take on Miami

joseph-girard-iii,-no.-16-clemson-take-on-miami

No. 16 Clemson takes a streak of three consecutive losses to Atlantic Coast Conference rival Miami into Wednesday’s matchup.

The Tigers (11-1, 1-0) last beat the Hurricanes during the 2020-21 season. But knocking off host Miami (10-2, 1-0) might be a timely feat for the Tigers with a weapon the Hurricanes have never faced in a Tigers uniform.

Syracuse transfer Joseph Girard III, who has 335 3-pointers in his five-year college career, is shooting 37.2 percent from deep.

Girard, second in scoring for Clemson this season (15.6 points per game), has been well received by his Tigers teammates.

“It feels like I’ve been here five years,” Girard said following Clemson’s most recent game, a 93-58 rout of Radford on Friday. “These guys have been amazing.”

Clemson’s top producer is PJ Hall, who ranks second in the ACC in scoring (20.5) while shooting 39.6 percent from long range.

Chase Hunter is Clemson’s other double-figure scorer (11.0 ppg), and Ian Schieffelin ranks third in the ACC in rebounding (9.7 per game), having already posted five double-figure rebound games this season.

Clemson, however, is coping with injury issues to important role players Alex Hemenway and Jack Clark, who aren’t likely to be ready on Wednesday.

Miami’s injury concerns are even greater as starters Wooga Poplar and Nijel Pack are questionable for Wednesday.

Pack, who has deep shooting range, is averaging 12.6 points and 4.2 assists a game. In the two games Pack has missed, Miami has started Kyshawn George, a 6-foot-8 freshman from Switzerland who is 8 inches taller than Pack. George, already an NBA prospect, is averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in those two games.

Replacing Poplar, however, would be harder. Poplar, a terrific leader and a deadly shooter, is averaging 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds a game this season. He is shooting 87.5 percent on free throws and 52.3 percent from the field.

Certainly, the Hurricanes will rely even more on center Norchad Omier, wing Matthew Cleveland and point guard Bensley Joseph.

Omier leads Miami in scoring (17.6) and rebounds (9.8). He ranks second in the ACC in rebounds and in field-goal percentage (62.6).

Cleveland does a bit of everything for Miami, averaging 14.9 points and 5.4 rebounds. He also shoots 43.3 percent from deep.

Joseph is Miami’s best defender, leading the team in steals (2.1). He also averages 8.8 points and 4.0 assists a game.

“We know how good Miami is,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, “and we’re going to have to play well to win, especially down there.”

Miami has won three straight games, including its most recent contest, a 95-55 rout of visiting North Florida on Friday.

The Hurricanes, who are 8-0 at home this season, got 27 points on 11-for-12 shooting from the field by Omier against North Florida. Omier is one of just three active players in Division I to post at least 1,500 career points and 1,000 rebounds.

In addition, Cleveland had 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. the Ospreys, and Joseph had 11 points and 10 assists.

“I was very pleased with our effort,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

–Field Level Media

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