If you weren’t familiar with Sheldon McClellan before Tuesday night, you should definitely be familiar with him now. The Miami Hurricanes guard had one of the best individual performances of the early college basketball season, totaling 31 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 77-74 win over Charlotte.
“I just wanted to stay aggressive, and my teammates did a god job of getting me the ball in the right positions and just trusting me with he ball in my hands,” McClellan said on Ferrall on the Bench. “So I thank my teammates a lot for that. I would say that’s definitely the best game I’ve ever played, but I’m just glad we got the win.”
Oddly enough, No. 17 Miami had to play Charlotte twice in a span of three days – once because of a tournament draw and once because the game was already on the schedule.
“It was really tough to play them back-to-back like that,” McClellan said. “Obviously they know what we like to do the second time. We had to be mentally, physically, emotionally prepared for the game, which we didn’t come out and do right away. But we found a way to win. We stuck together and we was poised down the stretch. It was a good test for us to see how good we could come together and get a win playing a team twice.”
Interestingly, Miami scored 77 points in both games. McClellan, a 6-5 guard from Houston, had 19 points and eight rebounds in the first game before blowing up in the second. The biggest difference, he said, was his three-point shooting. He was 0-of-2 in the first game but 5-of-7 in the second.
“I was more confident in my shot,” McClellan said. “I hadn’t been shooting the three-ball pretty well. We always talk about me being confident because the staff knows I can shoot, the coaches know I can shoot and I know I can shoot, so I just needed to shoot the ball with confidence and not think about it. Just let it fly. That’s what I did tonight.”
Miami (6-0) is compiling quite the early season resume, especially after a 69-67 win at Florida on Nov. 17. The Hurricanes rallied from a 15-point hole, as guard Angel Rodriguez scored a game-high 24 points.
“It was a great win for us,” McClellan said. “Angel definitely took over in that game. He was definitely Batman that game and I was Robin. We fed off him that game and we locked down defensively. That gave us momentum. Angel brought us home.”
Miami, which hosts Illinois in an intriguing out-of-conference affair Dec. 2, currently has five more games scheduled against teams ranked in the top eight.
“We’re going to stay confident as a team,” McClellan said. “We’re not going to look forward to the Duke game and the (North) Carolina game. We’re going to look forward to the next game, which is Friday against South Alabama, and win each game one-by-one and get better each game.”