Story by Nikki Hood
The Clemson seniors – David Collins, Naz Bohannon, and Hunter Tyson – go out in style with a 63-59 victory over Virginia Tech on Senior Day at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
The win was Clemson’s fourth in a row and snapped a three-game losing streak to Virginia Tech. It was Hokies’ head coach Mike Young’s first loss in the series.
Clemson had four players in double-digit scoring, with PJ Hall – who made his first appearance in nearly four games – netting 12 points, Alex Hemenway scored 11 points, Al-Amir Dawes, and David Collins added ten apiece.
Clemson improves to 16-15 overall and 8-12 in the ACC, while Virginia Tech falls to 19-12 overall and 11-9 in league play. Virginia Tech’s Nahiem Alleyne led all scorers with 17 points, while Justyn Mutts added 15 points.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead off of a Hunter Tyson three-pointer and David Collins layup, but Virginia Tech kept it to a close 5-4 after four consecutive free throws at the 14:21 mark in the first half.
After Virginia Tech made its first field goal at the 11:52 mark, the teams traded baskets for much of the next 10 minutes. Virginia Tech opened up a 26-19 lead – the Hokies’ first of the game – with 4:41 to play before intermission after the team got hot from beyond the arc, and Clemson went cold, allowing the Hokies to go on an 11-1 run.
Virginia Tech’s lead was as much as nine points at 33-24 with just over a minute to play before halftime, but a 6-0 run by Clemson that began with an Alex Hemenway layup and ended with a Collins drive and right-handed floater in the lane cut the Hokies lead to 33-30 at the half.
A pair of PJ Hall baskets gave Clemson a brief 34-33 lead coming out of halftime, and a couple of treys by Collins and Al-Amir Dawes opened up a 40-37 Tigers’ lead with 14:26 to play, but a 5-0 Hokies’ run made it a two-point Virginia Tech advantage at 42-40 with 12:48 to go.
Clemson countered with a 10-3 run of its own to take a 50-44 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. However, the Tigers went the next six minutes without a field goal allowing the Hokies to tie the game at 54-54 on a pair of free throws with 4:55 to play.
The Tigers took a 58-54 lead on a pair of Hall baskets and held on the rest of the way as the Hokies didn’t have a field goal in the last three minutes of the game.
Chase Hunter hit a free throw– his first point of the game – to seal the victory.
Clemson will be the ten seed in next week’s ACC Tournament. The Tigers will open play against NC State in the first round at 4:30 pm on Tuesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.