15 Clemson turnovers allow Seminoles to rally from 18 points down in the second half
When Aamir Simms drained a three-pointer from the left corner with 18:06 to play Wednesday, Clemson was up 18 points and appeared to be on its way to an easy road win at Florida State.
However, things can change quickly in basketball and that’s exactly what happened, as the Seminoles turned up the defensive pressure and the Tigers started turning over the basketball.
Fifteen second-half turnovers, which led to 21 Florida State points, allowed the Seminoles to crawl all the way back in the game and force overtime where they eventually topped 11th-ranked Clemson, 81-79.
Clemson finished the game with a season-high 21 turnovers.
The loss snapped the Tigers’ four-game win streak and dropped them to 9-4 in the ACC and 20-5 overall. FSU improved to 18-8 and 7-7 in conference play. The two teams will play again in two weeks at Littlejohn Coliseum.
To make matters worse, Clemson also lost point guard Shelton Mitchell to a head injury with eight seconds to play in overtime. The junior, who had to go to the hospital for further evaluation, was hit in the head by a forearm from a Florida State player trying to make a basketball play.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after the game Mitchell went to the hospital for a precautionary evaluation. Mitchell will likely go into concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game game against Duke will be questionable.
Mitchell tried to get up and play after the injury, but eventually Seminole players had to hold him up as he nearly fell to the ground on two separate occasions before medical staffs from both schools came over to attend.
Mitchell lied on the floor for nearly seven minutes before finally being carried off the court and into the Clemson locker room.
The Tigers had an opportunity to force a second overtime when Marcquise Reed intentionally missed a shot at the foul line and center Elijah Thomas got the ball. But FSU’s Terance Mann knocked the ball loose and the clock ran out on Clemson.
Clemson led for 41:41 in the game to the ‘Noles 1:06. The game was tied just twice all night and there was just one lead change.
The Tigers came out on fire to open the game, building a 15-point lead, 23-8, following a Clyde Trapp layup. FSU rallied to cut the lead to five points, but Clemson went on a 9-0 run to end the half and led 41-29 at the break.
In the second half, behind Phil Cofer’s 17 points and Clemson’s 15 turnovers, the Seminoles rallied to force overtime. However, the Tigers had a chance to seal the game in regulation.
David Skara’s tipin with 2:24 to play gave the Tigers a 70-64 lead. The Tigers had a couple of chances to add to the lead, but Trapp missed a three-pointer and then Mitchell turned the ball over, he had four on the night, which led to a Mann layup with 1:24 to play.
Gabe DeVoe, who also had four turnovers, then turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass, which led to a Cofer jumper, making it a two-point game with 1:22 to play.
On the Tigers’ next possession, DeVoe missed a three-pointer with 45 seconds to go and following an offense rebound, Reed was short on a jumper with 22 seconds to play which Mann rebound to give the ‘Noles an opportunity to tie the game.
Trent Forrest tied the game with a driving layup with eight seconds to play and Reed’s attempt to win the game in regulation was too strong off the rim, sending the game into overtime at 70.
It appeared Clemson was going to take control in overtime when Thomas completed an old-fashioned three-point play for a 74-70 lead with 2:10 to play. But, C.J. Walker made a three-pointer at the other end for the Seminoles and after Reed missed a three-pointer, Forrest layed the ball in the hoop for FSU’s first lead of the night, 75-74, with 1:06 to play.
After another Clemson turnover, Forrest made another layup with 28 seconds to play for a three-point lead. The Tigers still had one more opportunity to tie the game following a Skara steal and foul with five seconds to play, but he made just 1-of-2 shots and the Seminoles made both of theirs on the other end to come away with the two-point win.
Reed, who played all 45 minutes, led the Tigers with 23 points, but he also had five turnovers. In all, the Tigers’ three guards contributed to 13 of the team’s 21 turnovers.
DeVoe finished with 11 points and saw his streak of consecutive games with at least five triples come to an end at four. He was still 3-of-6 from downtown. Skara also came off the bench and scored 11 points, while Simms had 10 points.
Thomas finished the game with 8 points and 9 rebounds. Cofer led FSU with 17 points, Forrest had 16 and Mann added 13. Braian Angola had 10 points.
Clemson, who is now in a tie for second place in the ACC standings with No. 12 Duke, will host the Blue Devils on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
—Photo Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports