“It’s a difficult defeat. They got a call. We didn’t.” That’s how Clemson coach Brad Brownell summed up the final four seconds of Friday night’s 63-62 loss to Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, a loss that seals the Tigers’ post-season fate for the NIT.
Clemson battled back from 13 points down with a 19-9 run and eventually took a 62-61 lead on a jumper by Rod Hall with nine seconds to play. Duke’s Rodney Hood came flying back down the court and was knocked down while driving the right side of the lane drawing a foul on KJ McDaniels with 3.8 seconds to play. He calmly hit both free throws for a 63-62 lead.
Brownell called a timeout and called a play for Hall to catch and jet to the basket. He got exactly what he wanted. Hall received the ball in the clear in the backcourt and took off for the basket. As he veered in from the right side he split Tyler Thornton and Rasheed Sulaimon losing the ball as he went to the floor. There was no whistle and the game ended with Tiger coaches, players, administrators and fans wondering why.
Pictures show Thornton reaching across Hall’s arm and making contact. And Sulaimon, who was attempting to take a charge, appeared to make slight contact with his hip while still sliding into position.
Here’s more on the game in this video recap:
Hall led Clemson with 13 points and McDaniels added 12. Jabari Parker led Duke with 18 points and Hood added 17. The Tigers shot a blistering 66.7% in the second half (14-21) and in one stretch during their rally they scored baskets on six of seven trips down the floor.
Clemson falls to 20-12 and now awaits their NIT assignment which likely will be a home game early next week. Duke improves to 25-7 and will face NC State in one of the semi-finals Saturday. The other will pit top seed Virginia against Pittsburgh.