For the second time this season, Clemson played one of the nation’s top teams well but was unable to close the deal. The Tigers lost last month by eight points to Gonzaga in Orlando. Saturday night at Littlejohn Coliseum, they fell victim to 8th ranked Arizona 66-54 losing a six point lead with 11:28 to play.
The Wildcats outscored the Tigers 28-10 to win going away and run their record to 7-0. The Tigers fall to 5-3. After taking that six point lead in the second half, the Tigers went ice cold making just one shot over a seven and a half minute span. The Tigers shot just 38.5% from the floor and were only 9-17 from the line.
The Wildcats also had a poor shooting night from the floor at 35.5% but the Wildcats did go 17-20 from the line.
Milton Jennings, who made his return to the lineup following his suspension for a simple possession charge, led the Tigers with 15 points. KJ McDaniels added 13 points. Devin Booker had just six points but he added 9 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Arizona’s Mark Lyons led all scorers with 20 points.
“We’re certainly disappointed with the outcome after we fought so hard to get a lead in the middle of the second half,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “We didn’t play well early…I don’t know if it was the moment, I don’t know if it was taking a while for our guys to adjust to the game, but when we finally got adjusted and got our legs under us, I thought we played some really good basketball for a portion. We also had some really poor plays. We had too many turnovers, a bunch of steals for them. Those are just some things you can’t do against a team of that level.”
AUDIO: Brownell talks about letting one get away vs Arizona [6:52]
“It was a very good win for our team,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “Unless you’ve done it, you don’t realize how difficult it is to travel across the country on a couple of days’ turnaround and play in front of a crowd like Clemson had tonight against a really quality team, especially on defense. They’ll be as physical and tough to score on, I believe, as any team we’ll play all season long.”
AUDIO: Miller says they won a quality road test against the Tigers [7:22]
AUDIO: Clemson guard Adonis Filer talks about coming up short against ‘Zona [1:56]