Clemson led 21st-ranked Colorado for 34 minutes, Tuesday night in Las Vegas, but the Buffaloes overcame the Tigers, 71-67, with a late run and stellar foul shooting. Clemson led 63-60, with 4:44 remaining, but hit on just one more shot from the field and were outscored 11-4 in the game’s final minutes. With the victory, Colorado claims the MGM Resorts Main Event.
Center Aamir Simms grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a pair of shots to go with his team-high 23 points. The scoring output ties a career high for Simms. John Newman III added 16 points and Tevin Mack just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Fourteen of Simms’ 23 points came in the first half as the Tigers built a 36-33 lead. The lead ballooned to 12 before a 16-3 run put the Buffaloes back on top. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell praised his team’s energy in his postgame comments, “I thought we played well for large portions of it …. We made a couple of defensive errors toward the end that cost us, but I’m proud of the way our kids fought. This one stings because we probably played well enough to win. We outplayed Colorado for a good portion of the game. We just didn’t close this one out.”
Clemson (5-2) was held scoreless over the last 2:24 and Colorado (5-0) was able to ice it with six consecutive free throws over the last 2:50. On the night, Colorado knocked down 24 of 25 foul shots (96%). The Tigers also excelled at the line, hitting 19 of their 22 foul shots (86.4%).
The Tigers are next in action as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Clemson has drawn Minnesota and will play at Minneapolis, Monday. The game is scheduled to tip off at 9 p.m. and broadcast on ESPN2.