Clemson has blown several big leads this season, but none bigger than the one they lost to Boston College Saturday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers played great ball early and built a 23-point lead, but the Eagles got a spark off the bench from Anderson native Brevin Galloway and rallied for a 70-68 victory. The lost 23-point lead matches the Clemson record for such things set in a loss to Illinois in 2009.
The win also was a homecoming victory for first year BC coach Earl Grant who spent five years as a Brownell assistant at Clemson before becoming the head coach at The College of Charleston. The win also snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series by the Eagles.
Led by guard Al-Amir Dawes, the Tigers raced out to a 34-11 lead in the first thirteen minutes. Dawes scored 15 points during that stretch, but only two more the rest of the game, and none in the second half.
The Eagles began to turn things around by scoring eight straight points, six coming on back-to-back threes from Galloway, who transferred to BC from the College of Charleston when Grant took the job. Brownell said after the game those two-threes by Galloway gave the Eagles renewed spirit. They showed that by continuing to chip away and they cut the lead to seven at halftime.
Clemson was able to maintain the lead the entire second half until the 1:48 mark. A layup by TJ Bickerstaff tied the game at 66, capping a 6-0 run. David Collins gave the Tigers the lead again at 68-66 with :35 to play. Nine seconds later, Galloway hit another three-pointer to put BC up for the first time in the game at 69-68.
On Clemson’s next possession, Collins missed a half-hook runner from the right side, BC rebounded, and Clemson had to foul. Makai Ashton-Langford made one of two from the line for a 70-68. The Tigers came down the floor and Alex Hemenway missed a three. But Collins rebounded and was fouled on the put-back with :02 left.
Collins missed the first shot, and then intentionally missed the second, but the Tigers were called for a lane violation and the ball went over to the Eagles. A long inbounds pass across half-court was intercepted by Collins, and his last second heave was well short.
With those 17 first half points, Dawes ended up as Clemson’s leading scorer in the game. Collins added 15 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Ashton-Landford led the Eagles with 19 points, 17 in the second half. Galloway finished with 18 points, including five three-pointers.
Clemson has dropped three of their last four and is 10-7 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. BC improves to 7-8 and 2-3. The Eagles break a five-game losing streak with their first win since December 3rd.
The Tigers will play next at Syracuse Tuesday night with a 9:00 PM tip.