Clemson lost an 18 point lead against NC State in last week’s ACC Tournament and eventually lost a game that cost them a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Relegated to the NIT, the Tigers Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum built a 14 point lead on Wright State. They blew that lead as well, but this time they recovered for a 75-69 win and a spot in the second round against either Furman or Wichita State.
Playing without injured point guard Shelton Mitchell, who is out for the rest of the season with a recurrence of his knee problems, the Tigers still jumped out to a hot start behind Marcquise Reed and led early 16-2. But the Raiders battled back and took a 33-29 lead late in the half. Clemson scored the last four points to tie the game at 33 at the break.
The game was close throughout the second half. Wright State led by six after six minutes, and by the halfway point Clemson was up five. It was a one point game at 70-69 with 2:05 left, and the Tigers would score the games final five points from the line while forcing the Raiders to miss their final three shots, all behind the international three-point line in use for the NIT.
Reed led four Tigers in double figures with 24 points. The Tigers improved to 20-13 on the season, their fourth 20 win season under Brad Brownell, and to 19-16 all-time in the NIT.
Brad Brownell postgame