NICEVILLE, FL: Clemson mounted a furious second-half comeback at the Emerald Coast Classic, Friday, but fell just short of knocking off 25th-ranked Iowa. The Hawkeyes endured a 19-4 Tigers run and late-game replay reviews to hold on for a 74-71 victory.
The first half was a defensive struggle as Clemson couldn’t get into rhythm and shot just 35%. Iowa’s stifling defense carried into the second half as the Hawkeyes built a 60-46 lead. But with their backs against the wall, the Tigers sprang to life, holding Iowa without a field goal for nearly five minutes of game time while Chase Hunter started to cook.
With just under four minutes to play, Iowa shook things up by switching to a zone. Hunter calmly diagnosed it and found Brevin Galloway alone on the wing. Galloway stepped into a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net, tying the game at 62 to complete the climb back from 14 down.
A few exchanges later, the Tigers found themselves down 66-64 when Hunter tossed a behind the head pass that led to foul shots for Ian Schieffelin. Schieffelin split a pair, leaving Clemson down a point with less than a minute to go. On the next possession, Iowa forward Filip Rebraca’s put-back beat the shot clock buzzer to give the Hawkeyes a 3-point lead. This play was controversial, as the shot clock appeared to restart late and the game was halted for several minutes as the officials completed their review. Galloway’s next 3-point attempt rattled out and Clemson was forced to foul. Hunter Tyson and Chase Hunter both knocked down 3-pointers to keep the pressure on, but Iowa’s Tony Perkins sank six straight free throws to ice it.
Hunter’s sparkling play has carried over from the recent homestand with the point guard going for 21 points and six assists. Tyson was held scoreless in the first half but found his stroke after the break, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts and scoring 13 points after halftime. P.J. Hall played sparingly as he continues to work his way back from his offseason knee injury.
Clemson (4-2) will continue its play in the Emerald Coast Classic against the loser of Cal-TCU at 3 p.m., Saturday.