Florida State had no. 24 Clemson on the ropes in the waning moments at the Tucker Center, Saturday, leading by a basket with just ten seconds left on the clock. But that proved to be more than enough time for Chase Hunter to go the length of the floor, beat his man off the dribble, draw a whistle and score through contact to tilt the game back in the Tigers’ favor. After muscling his way for the game-tying bucket, Hunter sank the crucial foul shot to complete the three-point play and secure an 82-81 victory for Clemson.
Brad Brownell said, “He (Hunter) put his head down and got his shoulder into the guy, created some contact and then finished through the contact. Big-time play …. Chase is an elite player.”
Following Hunter’s free throw, the Tigers had to withstand a last-second shot from FSU, but the Seminoles were out of answers as Clemson (18-4, 10-1) picked up its fourth ACC road win. Three of the four wins have come by three points or less.
Brownell’s club has had a knack for succeeding in the clutch, posting a 5-2 mark in games decided by five points or less. That record doesn’t include a double-overtime win over Penn State (101-94) or a thrilling 72-64 victory over Duke.
Brownell turned all the praise in the direction of his players, “That same play (from Chase Hunter) doesn’t look nearly as good with somebody else. Hunter Tyson, big-time shot. P.J. Hall, big-time plays. We have good players. That’s why we’re doing well.”
One of those good players, guard Brevin Galloway, was forced to miss the game after undergoing surgery yesterday for a testicular torsion. But the trio of Hunter (26 points), Hall (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Tyson (27 points) were able to shoulder the load and deliver Clemson’s first win in Tallahassee since 2015.
Brownell wasn’t sure Hunter would be at his best following a long layoff. Hunter showed no ill effects from his ankle injury, however, as he hit shots from distance, scored in the paint, directed the offense and hit 10 of 11 from the foul line.
Clemson will head north for its next trip, traveling to Chesnut Hill, MA for a matchup with Boston College. Tipoff between the Tigers and the Eagles is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m.