Clemson had a tough task ahead of them taking the ACC Regular Season Champs Virginia, Friday night. The Tigers had a tremendous performance in their ACC Tournament opener against NC State, but couldn't replicate that against the Cavaliers in the Semifinals. A 1st half full of offensive woes for Clemson did them in, against one of the nation's best defensive programs, year in and year out.
Clemson trailed 14-10 with 12 minutes left in the 1st half. They were outscored in the final 12 minutes of the opening half, 23-15. That included the final 4 minutes of the half, where Clemson went dry and didn't score a point in that stretch. Virginia finished the 1st half on an 8-0 run to lead 37-25 at the break.
Virginia would continue to play their trademark "sticky" half-court defense in the 2nd half. They outscored Clemson 39-31 in the 2nd half to cruise to a 76-56 win. Virginia contested Clemson's shots all night long, forcing the Tigers to shoot a paltry 36% from the floor and just 30% from long range. Virginia didn't shoot particularly well from 3 point range making 35% of their attempts from deep. However, they did shoot 50% from the floor overall.
A major factor in the game was the turnover margin. Virginia was plus 6 in that category , they only had 6 turnovers for the game. Clemson turned it over a dozen times in the game.
Clemson had three players in double figures. Hunter Tyson had a team high 15 to lead the Clemson scoring effort. PJ Hall had a double-double of 13 points and 10 boars. Brevin Galloway had a dozen points but shot 4 of 14 on the way to scoring 12.
Virginia also had three players in double digits. Jayden Gardner had game highs for points and rebounds with 23 and 12. Armaan Franklin had 16 for the Cavs and Kihei Clark added a baker's dozen.
Clemson is now 1-5 in games in which they have been held to under 60 points. The Tigers are 23-10 overall, they went 14-6 in ACC play finishing third in the ACC's regular season race. Clemson wet 1-1 in the ACC Tournament, downing NC State for the 3rd time this season in the Quarterfinals.
Now, it will be a "wait and see" approach for Clemson. There's been much talk about if the Tigers will get in the NCAA Tournament. They are squarely on the bubble and according to ESPN's Bracketology projections, the Tigers aren't expected to get an at-large bid to the "Big Dance". The Tigers will find out their fate when the Selection Show airs Sunday night.