The Clemson Tigers could not overcome a more than nine-minute scoring drought to end
the first half, as the Virginia Cavaliers advanced to the ACC Men’s Basketball Championship Game with a 64-58 win Friday in Brooklyn.
The Tigers led 20-13 with 9:32 to play in the 1st Half, after a Gabe DeVoe layup, the last field goal they would make in the opening 20 minutes. Clemson managed just three free throws at the 1:07 mark of the half, as Virginia went on a 19-3 run to take a nine-point lead at halftime.
Elijah Thomas provided a burst out of the halftime break, scoring the Tigers’ first nine points of the 2nd Half and cutting the lead to as few as four. UVA responded with a 10-0 run to put the Cavaliers up 14 points, giving the Cavaliers their largest lead of the contest.
Clemson got the game to within five with a four-point swing off of a flagrant-one foul on Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite, but the Tigers never got the game back within one possesion.
Two of Clemson’s top three scorers were off their game against Virginia, as the Cavaliers held Marcquise Reed to 6 points on 2-of-14 shooting. and DeVoe to 8. Shelton Mitchell carried the load for the Tigers with 18 points while Thomas added 15.
Kyle Guy led the way with 15 points for Virginia, who advanced to take on North Carolina in Saturday’s Championship Game. The Tar Heels defeated Duke, 74-69, in the second semifinal FRiday.
Tigers Head Coach Brad Brownell said the Tigers matched the intensity in the first 10 minutes, but Virginia was locked in from then on:
Clemson Postgame Press Conference (Brad Brownell & Gabe DeVoe)
Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett credited Clemson, but said they finally got the defense they wanted after the Tigers’ early lead:
UVA Postgame Press Conference (Tony Bennett, Jack Salt, Ty Jerome)
Clemson’s regular season ends with a 23-9 record, and the Tigers await their NCAA Tournament seed selection on Sunday.