Clemson saw its last-minute lead, built on the back of P.J. Hall and a superior rebounding effort, slip away as Florida State’s Rayquan Evans drew a foul en route to the game-tying basket. Evans’ free throw completed the three-point play, resulting in an 81-80 win for the Seminoles.
Following Evans’ foul shot, the Tigers still had 14.4 seconds to avoid a fifth straight loss. After a string of timeouts enhanced the drama, Clemson (12-14, 4-11) got the ball into the hands of Hall. FSU collapsed quickly, forcing Hall to yield to Alex Hemenway. Hemenway got a clean look from the corner, but his last-second effort came up short. Florida State had trailed 80-76, but scored the game’s final five points to secure the win.
Head coach Brownell said of his team’s fifth straight defeat, “Heartbreaking loss. I feel awful for my team …. This one stings. I’m disappointed with the way the game was officiated down the stretch. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Clemson led 40-36 at the break despite shooting 37% from the floor and hitting just 3 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half. The Tigers finished 6 of 27 (22%) from the 3-point line.
Hall and Evans traded blows throughout the night, finishing with a mirror image stat line, each scoring 28 points and each making good on 12 of 13 free throw attempts. David Collins snatched 11 rebounds in his return to the lineup from a one-game suspension. Overall, the Tigers outrebounded FSU 41-29 and scored 19 second-chance points. Both clubs excelled from the foul line, with Clemson sinking 30 of 36 and FSU hitting 25 of 30.
The Tigers will try to turn their fortunes around at Louisville, Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.