The Tigers are running out of steam, and fresh bodies, as they make their way down the back stretch of the season. Notre Dame is the latest ACC power to victimize Clemson, knocking off the Tigers 76-61 at Littlejohn Coliseum, Saturday. Notre Dame sunk 10 of its first 14 shots to build an early double-digit lead it would never relinquish. Forward P.J. Hall had his way against the Irish frontcourt, scoring 19 points, but Notre Dame effectively countered by hitting 54% of their shots from behind the arc.
Clemson, playing without Hunter Tyson (injury) and David Collins (suspension), were helpless against Notre Dame’s barrage of 3-pointers and surgical cuts to the front of the rim. The Tigers mounted one run midway through the second half when Hall’s 3-point play (put back dunk followed by made free throw) trimmed the lead to seven. But Notre Dame struck back quickly, stretching its advantage back into double digits with consecutive baskets, the second on a fast-break layup generated off a Tigers turnover. Clemson never threatened again.
Hall, scoring in double figures for the 24th straight game, drew praise from Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, “What a great talent. He gets my vote for ACC’s Most Improved …. Those 10-foot jump hooks over a guy, that’s NBA level.”
Clemson (12-13, 4-10) has now dropped four straight, including three at Littlejohn Coliseum in a five-day span, to fall below .500 for the first time this season. Brad Brownell’s bunch will try to get back on track when they visit Florida State, Tuesday. Tipoff from Tallahassee, Fla. is set for 7 p.m.