For the second time in four years the Tigers finished their season in the St. Pete Times Forum. Clemson’s season ended Thursday afternoon as West Virginia pulled away from the Tigers in the second half and defeated the Tigers 84-76. The Tigers dominated the first 18 minutes of the game, but West Virginia made a 9-0 run to end the half and tie the score.
“Congratulations to West Virginia on a very hard-fought win. I thought we played exceptionally well at the start. They certainly made a nice run at the end of the half to tie it. Took a little bit of control of it in the second half and we fought back. And then a tough call late that went against us after we cut it to three, and they were able to make free throws and then the bottom kind of fell out and they were able to win it,” said Brownell.
How did the quick turnaround impact the Tigers?
“I don’t know. We certainly were ready to go early. I mean, 12:15 is less than ideal. I certainly hope they address it for the student-athletes sake because there is a wearing effect on the game. We seemed a little bit slow at the end of the second half. We didn’t respond like we needed to, maybe as competitively as we have been in certain situations. I mean, we didn’t lose the game because it started at 12:15, but I don’t know if we were a half step slow,” replied Brownell.
Playing after a quick trip from Dayton the Tigers fought until the end. After trailing by double digits for much of the second half the Tigers cut the lead to three in the final minutes and it looked like they had a steal, but a foul was called.
Andre Young led the Tigers with 22 points. Demontez Stitt added 16 while Devin Booker and Jerai Grant each added 13.
Clemson sthot 43 percent for the game and oly 24 percent from three. West Virginia ended the contest shooting 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.
Jerai Grant put the Tigers up 2-0 with a pair of free throws. Andre Young followed with a jumper to put Clemson up four.
At the first timeout with 15:51 to go the Tigers led 6-2. West Virginia hit a basket out of the timeout to cut the lead to 6-4.
Andre Young hit a three for the Tigers to make the score 10-4. Another three from Young put the Tigers up 13-6. After a steal Young got fouled going to the basket and hit two free throws. Grant added a free throw to put Clemson up 16-6.
Booker hit a shot inside to put Clemson up 20-10 with 11:40 to go. West Virginia responded with a three to cut the lead to seven.
West Virginia hit another three with 9:05 to go to cut the lead to 24-20. Another three cut the lead to 1.
Demontez Stitt responded with a three to put the Tigers back up four. After the lead was cut to two the Tigers responded with baskets by Grant and Stitt to stretch the lead to six.
With 4:23 to go Grant got a dunk inside to put Clemson up 35-27. Milton Jennings added two free throws to put the lead back at 10.
With 1:21 to go West Virginia he two free throws to cut the lead to 40-35. After Grant missed a shot inside West Virginia scored to cut the lead to three.
West Virginia finished the half on a 9-0 run to tie the game.
Seniors Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt led the Tigers in scoring at the half with 11 each. Andre Young added ten.
The Tigers shot 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from three in the half. West Virginia hit 54 percent from the field and 44 percent from three.
West Virginia took their first lead of the game 42-40 to start the second half.
Demontez Stitt hit the first basket of the second half for the Tiger with 16:06 to make the score 46-43 West Virginia.
With 14:31 to go West Virginia hit a three and was fouled by Andre Young. After the free throw the Tigers trailed 52-43.
Devin Booker scored inside to cut the West Virginia lead to seven. West Virginia responded with a 5-0 run to go up 59-47 with 11:18 to go.
The Tigers cut the lead to 59-51 after Andre Young hit two free throws. The two teams exchanged baskets for the next five minutes with the lead going from eight to ten.
Devin Booker dunked with 4:55 to go to make the score 72-63. Demontez Stitt hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to nine with 4:13 to go.
Tanner Smith scored with 3:22 to go to bring the Tigers within six. Andre Young hit a three to cut the lead to five with 2:20 to go. With 1:49 to go Tanner Smith hit two free throws to make it 74-71.
West Virginia stole the ball two times possessions in a row to build the lead back to 80-71 with 1:13 to go. West Virginia hit their free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Clemson finished the season 22-13.