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CORAL GABLES (The Sports Xchange) — No. 15 Miami overcame one of its coldest shooting games of the season to pull away late for a 77-63 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
The Hurricanes (15-3, 4-2 ACC) shot only 35.9 percent from the field and did not pull away to their 14th double-digit win over the season until the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Demon Deacons (10-9, 1-6) tied the game at 48-48 on guard Rondale Watson’s free throw with 10:19 remaining when the Hurricanes, whose season-low shooting from the field is 34.6 percent, went on a 17-3 run that finally put the visitors away.
The Hurricanes led 65-51 after guard Sheldon McClellan’s two free throws at the 4:06 mark, and Wake could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Miami’s biggest lead was 17 points, 73-56, on guard Angel Rodriguez’s two free throws with 1:56 remaining.
Miami guard JaQuan Newton came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points. McClellan and Rodriguez had 14 each for Miami.
Forward Devin Thomas and guard Bryant Crawford led Wake Forest with 12 each.
Wake Forest went to the locker room down only 35-33 at halftime, cutting an 11-point deficit down to two by outscoring the Hurricanes 11-2 over the last 3:13 of the period.
The Hurricanes were up 33-22 after guard Ja’Quan Newton’s jumper and led by nine, 35-26, on McClellan’s basket with 1:43 left. But the Deacons closed out the half on a 7-0 run as Miami turned the ball over once and missed its last three shots, including guard Davon Reed’s heave from midcourt at the buzzer.
It could have been a one-point game, but Wake guard Bryant Crawford missed the second of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 4.4 seconds remaining in the half.
NOTES: Miami faces a quick turnaround with a Monday night home game against Duke. … Wake Forest’s home game with Virginia was delayed to Tuesday night from Monday because of the blizzard that inundated the East Coast. … Wake Forest fell to 1-6 against ranked opponents for the season. The Demon Deacons’ only win was over then 13th-ranked Indiana. … Miami G Angel Rodriguez came into the game having gone only 2 of 25 from 3-point range the previous five outings but hit his first two long attempts to help get Miami out to an early 8-3 lead. … The 77 points are a season high for Miami in ACC play.