Photo Credit to Rich Barnes of the “USA Today”
The Clemson Men’s Basketball team has finally finished a stretch that saw them playing five of their last six on the road. The final two games of this stretch ended with the Tigers losing on the home courts of two of the ACC’s newest teams. Sunday night, Clemson faced off at #1 Syracuse. The Tigers broke out their purple jerseys, which had been good luck during this season. However, ‘Cuse proved to be too good as they defeated the Tigers 57-44 to continue their undefeated season. Clemson continues to have great performances by Junior forward KJ McDaniels, who dropped nineteen points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Orange. He had some help from Jaron Blossomgame and Jordan Roper, who each had seven points a piece. Syracuse’s trio of Jerami Grant, Tyler Cooney, and CJ Fair each had double digit points, and gave the Orange enough to overcome Clemson’s defensive effort. Clemson faced a quick turn around after Sunday, heading to South Bend, Indiana for a tilt with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Tuesday night. The Tigers suffered a heart breaking 68-64 double overtime loss to Notre Dame. McDaniels continued to roll, putting up thirty points with fourteen rebounds. Point guard Rod Hall had 12 points. He also hit the free throw to tie the game up and send it to the first overtime. During that first overtime period, the Tigers trailed by two points with under ten seconds remaining. Tigers big man Landry Nnoko stole the ball from the Irish on the inbound and was promptly fouled. The sophomore from Cameroon hit both free throws, putting the game at 60-60. A Notre Dame turnover allowed Clemson to advance the ball, then the Irish knocked it out of bounds with .8 seconds left, giving Clemson a chance for a shot. McDaniels had a wide open look for a quick 3 pointer and barely missed it, sending the game to a second overtime. In the final overtime, Notre Dame was able to outlast the Tigers and win 68-64. Clemson now sits at 6-5 in the ACC, and in the seventh spot in the ACC’s standings. The loss hurts Clemson’s NCAA Tournament Resume, as the Tigers are regarded to be a “bubble” team by many experts. The Tigers finally return to Littlejohn to play the #17 Virginia Cavaliers Saturday at noon.