CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dejan Vasiljevic had a career-high 25 points as Miami continued a perfect run at the Charleston Classic with a 74-70 victory over Missouri State on Thursday.
The Hurricanes (4-1) built an 18-point lead midway through the second half, but had to hold on after the Bears cut things to 72-70 on Tyrik Dixon’s driving basket with 1.8 seconds left. Vasiljevic was fouled and calmly hit both free throws to lock up the win.
Miami is the lone two-time tournament champion and improved to 8-0 all-time at the eight-team event. They will face either Florida or St. Joseph’s on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s finals.
Missouri State (2-3) will face the Florida-St. Joseph’s loser Friday.
Vasiljevic helped Miami open its big lead in the second half before Missouri State went on a 12-0 run to cut it to 64-56 with 7:31 to play.
But Kameron McGusty made a field goal and Vasiljevic finished a three-point play to extend Miami’s lead and the Bears could not recover.
Vasiljevic surpassed his previous high of 22 points set last February in a win over Clemson.
McGusty added 19 points and Chris Lykes 11 for the Hurricanes.
Gaige Prim led Missouri State with 18 points, 14 in the second half. Tulio Da Silva had 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
Vasiljevic had two of his four 3-pointers to start Miami’s 22-13 run that closed the opening half. His first one put the Hurricanes ahead for good, 19-17, with 8:03 remaining and he followed with another long-range basket. McGusty had five points and Harlond Beverly four points in the stretch to send Miami into the break ahead 38-30.
Missouri State: The Bears are in a difficult stretch they hope will lead to good things down the road. They fell to Xavier last Friday and after three games in Charleston will head to LSU.
Miami: The Hurricanes sure didn’t have the killer instinct in this one with Missouri State going on a 24-10 spurt in the last 10 minutes to nearly steal the game. That won’t fly once ACC play hits.
Missouri State will play either Florida or St. Joseph’s on Friday
Miami will play either Florida or St. Joseph’s on Friday.
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