Saturday, March 22, 2008

MIAMI 78, ST. MARY’S 64

Good news: The Canes won. Bad news: Up next, Texas.

Jack McClinton dazzled with his quick drives to the basket and long 3-pointers, scoring a career-high 38 points in seventh-seeded Miami's 78-64 win over 10th-seeded Saint Mary's on Friday.


And here's a scary thought: McClinton might not have been at full strength.


"I had a fever a couple of days before the game," he said. "Our trainers got us on the meds and I felt pretty good for the game today."

Miami trailed 32-27 at halftime. In the second half, the score was McClinton 32, Saint Mary's 32.
Playing just across the Arkansas River from Bill Clinton's presidential library, McClinton scored 10 straight points for Miami early in the second half, part of a 25-5 run that gave the Hurricanes a 52-38 lead. Miami (23-10) missed all six of its 3-point attempts in the first half, but McClinton alone made three in the second.

When Saint Mary's (25-7) pulled within eight at 64-56, McClinton calmly sank an open 3 from the left corner.

The win gave Hurricanes coach Frank Haith a likely second-round matchup with second-seeded Texas in the South Regional. Haith was an assistant for the Longhorns under Rick Barnes before taking over at Miami. Texas faced 15th-seeded Austin Peay in the game immediately following Miami's.

Miami, which was predicted to be the Atlantic Coast Conference's worst team this season, now has won 8 of 11, part of a remarkable turnaround after a 12-20 record a season ago.

Jack McClinton #33 of the Miami Hurricanes shoots a running floater over Diamon Simpson #20 and Yusef Smith #5 of the Saint Mary's Gaels during the first round of the South Regional. (Photos by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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