Clemson fell behind by as much as 14 before a late rally came up short in a 62-56 loss to UMass in the championship game of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena. The win improved the Minutemen to 6-0 on the season and dropped the Tigers to 5-1 overall.
Clemson was led by point guard Rod Hall, who posted a team-high 16 points and limited star UMass point guard Chaz Williams to 1-for-12 shooting. K.J. McDaniels, who was named to the all-tournament team, added 14 points and six rebounds. Devin Coleman came off the bench late to post 10 points in his most significant action of the season. Jaron Blossomgame added nine.
Cady Lalanne, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led UMass with 20 points and 12 rebounds. The Minutemen shot 40 percent for the game, but just 29 percent after halftime. Clemson struggled shooting the ball, connecting on just 36 percent of its attempts. UMass also won the rebound battle 44-40. The two teams combined for 28 turnovers.
The teams exchanged the lead multiple times early and after Clemson was up 10-7, the Minutemen put together 11 straight points that culminated with a three from the left wing by reserve Trey Davis. Clemson then ratcheted its defense up a hair, limiting UMass to just three points over the next 6:45 of game clock.
Clemson pulled within two at 23-21 on a backdoor lob to Blossomgame, but the Minutemen answered with a 9-0 run of its own to earn a double digit lead for the first time. UMass led by a score of 34-24 at the break.
The Tigers turned up the defensive pressure to start the second half and were able to get out and run, as McDaniels stuffed home a lead pass from Hall for a jam that cut the deficit to six at 36-30. But as it did all game, the Minutemen answered with a run, this one 9-2 that pushed the lead to 13 at 45-32.
McDaniels came to life to bring Clemson within eight at 49-41 on a rainbow three from the left wing. The Tigers actually pulled within seven on a three-point play by Hall, but UMass wing Sampson Carter buried a long trifecta with the shot clock dwindling to silence the Clemson faithful.
Coleman’s spurt helped Clemson pull within four inside the final minutes, and a Hall layup made it 59-56 inside the last 60 seconds. On UMass’s ensuing possession, Hall forced a wild shot by Williams, but Raphiael Putney was there to stick it back in and seal the win.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Nov. 29 at home against Coastal Carolina. The game tips off at 7 p.m. from Littlejohn Coliseum.
Story by Clemson Sports Information