Freshman makes triple with 1:04 to play
Playing without star forward Donte Grantham late in the second half, it was the guy who replaced him in the lineup that made the biggest shot of the afternoon for 18th Clemson.
With the Tigers clinging to a three-point over Notre Dame, freshman Aamir Simms made a three-pointer from the right corner with 1:04 to play, lifting the Tigers to a 67-58 victory Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Clemson (16-3, 5-2 ACC) was holding on to a three-point lead when Simms’ triple gave the Tigers a 62-56 advantage. He later made a big block to seal the victory for Clemson, who beat Notre Dame for the first time in six tries in front of sold crowd.
Simms finished the game with just five points, but he came in off the bench and gave the Tigers a spark after Grantham left with a right knee injury with 10:54 to play. While driving the basketball inside the lane, Grantham’s knee buckled, causing the 6-foot-8 senior to go to the ground in pain and grabbing his right knee.
Grantham left the game and did not return to action, though he sat the final few minutes on the bench with ice on his knee.
However, even with Grantham out of the game, Clemson never gave up its lead. After taking a 5-0 lead to start the game, the Tigers never trailed in the contest.
Senior guard Gabe DeVoe led Clemson with 17 points and seven rebounds. He was 5-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He had three triples as well on 10 attempts.
Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell each added 12 points, while Grantham had 11 before leaving the game with a right knee injury. Mitchell had seven rebounds and five assists to go with his 12 points, while Reed’s dozen was associated with three rebounds and three assists, plus 4-for-10 shooting.
Reed and Mitchell combined to shot 7-of-8 from the foul line, while Clemson was 12-of-15 as a team.
The Tigers led by as many as 11 points, which last came with 13:39 to play in the opening half. The Irish trimmed the lead to two points on several occasions, but they could never get over the hump.
Notre Dame guard T.J. Gibbs led all scorers with 18 points.
After DeVoe buried a three-point to put the Tigers up nine, 59-50, with 3:18 to play, Notre Dame made one last push to steal the game from Clemson. Gibbs and John Mooney drained back-to-back three-pointers and cut the lead to three points, 59-56, with 2:20 to play.
But Simms found himself open in the right corner and buried the triple for a 62-56 lead with 1:04 to play. With Notre Dame trying to cut the lead under seven with 23 seconds to play, Simms then blocked Mooney’s shot on a layup attempt to seal the win.
Clemson will travel to Virginia on Tuesday for the first of two straight road games. The Tigers play next Sunday at Georgia Tech.