Hall returns to form, leads #Clemson past Penn State in double-OT (AUDIO)

Alex Hemenway delivered another efficient performance, going 5 of 8 for 15 points (Clemson University Athletics Communications)

LITTLEJOHN COLISEUM: P.J. Hall returned to the starting lineup and returned to form just in time to help Clemson outlast Penn State in a 101-94 double-overtime thriller as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Tuesday. Hall feasted in the low post and finished with 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line. The Nittany Lions were at Hall’s mercy once he found good position on the block, forcing Penn State’s post players to foul or face an array of drop steps and jump hooks.

Penn State hit 6 of their first 13 3-pointers and led 35-29 at the half. Chase Hunter and Hunter Tyson, who had recently been carrying Clemson offensively, were held scoreless in the first half. But the Tigers came out firing in the second half, taking the lead with a 15-5 run. Tyson led the charge, scoring 24 points after halftime. Chase Hunter continued to struggle with his shot but found other ways to contribute, finishing with a team-high five assists.

The Tigers controlled the second half and looked to be on their way to victory after Tyson hit an apparent dagger from the left wing, giving the home team a seven-point lead in the final minute of regulation. But Clemson failed to grab a crucial rebound and make the foul shots that could have put Penn State away. The Nittany Lions took advantage of the opening and banked in a 3-pointer to send the game into extra time.

Like the beginning of the second half, Clemson quickly wrestled control of the game. But just like the end of regulation, Penn State refused to yield, hitting a number of contested step back jumpers to retake the lead.

As Penn State was going with a quick lineup, Hall was able to go to work on the block, drawing fouls and earning free throws at will. Trailing by two and facing defeat, Alex Hemenway (15 points) fed Hall in the post. The All-ACC forward powered his way to the game-tying basket with 4.2 seconds on the clock, sending the game into a second overtime.

After bullying defenders in the first overtime, Hall went to his turnaround jumper in the second extra frame, knocking down an 8-footer from the mid-post to give Clemson a two-point lead. Tyson took the reins from there, scoring six points in the next 1:12 to put Penn State to bed.

A lot of the credit for the victory should go to Clemson’s defensive adjustments. After surrendering open looks early, the Tigers got more physical on the perimeter and held Penn State to 5 of 23 shooting from behind the arc after halftime.

Clemson (6-2) will open conference play against Wake Forest, Friday. Tipoff from Littlejohn Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.

Final Stats

Clemson postgame press conference

Head coach Brad Brownell

Forwards P.J. Hall and Hunter Tyson

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