Forward Aamir Simms took control of Clemson’s game at NC State in the early going, scoring 12 points in the first eight minutes, but the Wolfpack’s balanced attack soon turned the momentum and NC State put the brakes on Clemson’s three-game winning streak with a 60-54 victory in Raleigh, Saturday.
Simms’ layup put Clemson (9-8, 3-4 ACC) ahead 15-8, but the Tigers were outscored 28-9 over the next 12:17 and fell into a deficit from which they could not recover. Clemson’s comeback got as close as 59-54, but their efforts fell short and NC State (13-5, 4-3 ACC) avenged its January 4th loss at Littlejohn Coliseum. That win sparked the Tigers to a three-game winning streak that included historic wins at Chapel Hill and a highly-ranked Duke club.
While NC State was able to focus its defense on Simms (18 points, 11 rebounds), the Wolfpack hit Clemson with a multi-faceted arsenal that produced four double-figure scorers. Markell Johnson, D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels tied for the team lead with 13 points. C.J. Bryce supported the cause with 11 points.
Clemson guard Tevin Mack joined Simms in double figures with 12 points, but was not efficient, missing all seven of his 3-pointers and eight of his 13 shots from the field, overall.
After hitting 42% of their three’s in the upset victory over Duke, the Tigers’ shooting woes resurfaced in Raleigh. Clemson made just 5 of 20 (25%) from behind the arc and 9 of 23 (39%) from the foul line.
Clemson will look to start a fresh winning streak when Wake Forest visits Littlejohn Coliseum at 8 p.m., Tuesday.