When Shelton Mitchell penetrated the lane and kicked the ball outside to a wide open Marcquise Reed, who nailed a three-pointer from the left corner, Clemson knew its comeback over Ohio State was was complete.
Reed’s three gave the Tigers a 12-point with 2:09 to play and then moments later Mitchell found an open Donte Grantham under the basket for an easy slam for the exclamation point as Clemson beat the Buckeyes Wednesday, 79-65, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The win moved the Tigers to 6-1 on the season, the program’s best start to a new season since doing the same to start the 2009-’10 season. The win also allowed the ACC to improve to 7-1 in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.
The Tigers improved to 10-7 all-time in the challenge.
The night did not start off to well for Clemson. The Buckeyes jumped out to an early 13-point lead, 24-11, and controlled the game for all of the first-half and for the first five minutes in the second.
Ohio State led 37-30 at the break.
But Reed, who led all scorers with 22 points, got rolling in the second half, along with center Elijah Thomas, who scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
Following a C.J. Jackson layup to give Ohio State (5-3) an 11-point lead, 43-32, with 17:39 to play the Tigers kicked it in gear. Gabe DeVoe made a jumper and a three to cut into the lead and then a few minutes later Grantham drained the bottom of the bucket behind the line, then Mitchell hit a jumper to pull the Tigers within five, 47-42, with 15:13 to go.
After the Buckeyes’ went back up by seven points, Mitchell knocked down a three-pointer and then Thomas completed a three-point play to make the score 53-52, Ohio State, with 11:50 to go.
Clemson then took its first lead, 54-53, since 3-0 early in the game on a Reed jumper with 11:09 to play. Reed later hit a three to extend the lead to five points.
The Tigers continued to build their lead after that as Grantham hit another jumper and Reed another three for a 64-56 lead with 8:06 to go.
The Buckeyes made one last run cut the Clemson lead to three, 64-61, on a Kaleb Wesson layup with 6:33 to play, but they scored just four points down the stretch and were 1 for their last 8 with two turnovers and five missed free throws.
Ohio State finished the game 8-for-16 from the foul line, while Clemson was 11-for-13 at the charity stripe. The Buckeyes were just 2-for-7 from the line in the last six minutes of the game.
Clemson ended the game with a 15-4 run to record its second straight win.
Reed finished the night 7-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from downtown. He was also 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Mitchell added 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and was 3-for-4 from three-point range. He also had 6 assists to lead the Clemson offense.
The Tigers shot 55.8 percent from the floor and was 10-of-19 from behind the line. Clemson outscored the Buckeyes’ 49-28 in the second half.
Thomas was 4-for-6 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from the foul line. The Tigers’ center had 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots as well.
Grantham has 6 assists and 6 rebounds to go with his 11 points. He was 5-for-8 from the field.
DeVoe scored 9 points as well for Clemson, who will be back in action on Sunday against UNC Ashville. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
–Photo Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports