Littlejohn Coliseum has been a friendly place for the Clemson basketball season and for 39 minutes and 59 seconds against NC State Sunday it looked like it was going to continue to be that way. The Tigers had the Wolfpack on the ropes almost the entire game until the Pack hit a deep corner 3 with :1 left to pull out a 58-57 win.
This game was there for Clemson to take. Milton Jennings was fouled with 14 seconds left on the clock and the Tigers leading by two. All the senior forward had to do was make two free throws and the game was essentially over. Even one would have ensured they didn’t get beat. But Jennings missed the front end of the 1-and-1 and the Wolfpack rebounded. They pushed the ball across half court and quickly called a timeout with just over seven seconds left and drew up what ended up being the game winning play for the Pack: a 3 from the corner from Scott Wood.
“I was completely confident that we were going to go to (Wood) and go for the jugular,” said State coach Mark Gottfried.
Clemson (12-11, 4-7) couldn’t really afford any kind of loss, much less a heartbreaker like that. Brownell said it was “painful” and “hard on everyone” the way it went down. “Tough day,” he said. The Tigers have dropped three straight games. This is their first loss at home since Florida State beat them in the ACC opener last month.
Clemson will try to mend its heart on Valentine’s Day with a road date against Georgia Tech. The Tigers are0-5 in ACC road games this season.
- Clemson led by as many 12 points in the first half.
- Jennings crucial missed free throw was the only one the Tigers missed in the second half. They were 4-4 from the line before that miss. They finished the game 7-10 (70%) from the charity stripe.
- Freshman guard Jordan Roper led Clemson with a career high 17 points. He also made an impact on defense with three first half steals.
- K.J. McDaniels blocked five shots, grabbed six rebounds and scored 12 points.
- Clemson had 17 turnovers. NC State turned it over 12 times.
- This is the first win for NC State at Littlejohn Coliseum since they picked up a double-overtime win here in 2006.