Clemson loses third straight came, falls to fifth place in the ACC
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Marcquise Reed did all he could to keep 15th-ranked Clemson in its game with Virginia Tech, but besides Elijah Thomas’ double-double, no one else did much of anything as the Hokies knocked the Tigers from fourth place in the ACC standings with a 65-58 victory Wednesday at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
“We are struggling to score a little bit right now,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said afterward.
The loss to the Hokies was Clemson’s third straight. The Tigers now stand 9-6 in the ACC, fifth in the standings, and 20-7 overall.
The Hokies improve to 20-8 overall and 9-6 in the ACC, fourth in the conference. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will get a two-day bye in next month’s ACC Tournament and automatically advance to the quarterfinal round.
The Tigers engineered a 13-5 run to take a four-point lead … its largest of the game at 38-34 with 13:43 left.
However, the Hokies orchestrated a 25-7 run over the next 11:10 of regulation to build a 14-point advantage and take control of the game.
Clemson battled back and closed to within just five points on the heels of an 8-2 run capped by a Gabe DeVoe three, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.
It was obvious Clemson was missing point guard Shelton Mitchell, who missed his second straight game with a concussion. DeVoe again struggled from the field without Mitchell on the floor, scoring just 8 points.
The senior was 3-for-9 from the field and 1-for-4 from the foul line. DeVoe, who made 25-of-40 threes in the five games prior to the Duke game, has made just 2-of-14 triples in the last two games and was 4-for-19 overall.
But it was not just DeVoe, Clemson missed seven straight free throws at one point and finished the game 3-for-10 overall. The Tigers led the ACC in free shooting in conference games prior to Wednesday.
“Obviously, the missed free throws were very telling in the second half,” Brownell said. “We got some opportunities that we could have ended some runs, but we missed two, maybe three times in a row, and you cannot do that on the road against a good team.”
Reed finished the night with a career-high 28 points to lead Clemson, while Thomas had 12 points and 10 rebounds, but no one else did much of anything. It was Thomas’ eighth double-double of the season.
Scott Spencer (0-for-6), Mark Donnal (0-for-1) and Clyde Trapp (0-for-2) were a combined 0-for-9 from the field and failed to score a single point despite playing 22, 9 and 10 minutes.
“We obviously did not get much out of our bench today,” Brownell said. “We played some guys and they could not make shots. It puts a lot of pressure on your older guys, which should not have been that much.
“But Marcquise was forced to do a lot and some of that, not having Shelton, that is what he does, but we needed more bench play … We had three guys play almost double figure minutes and we scratched. That is just putting to much pressure on your starters.”
Outside of Reed and Thomas, the rest of the team shot 7-for-28 from the field. Reed was 10-of-24 overall and 8-for-20 behind the arc, while Thomas was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor.
The Hokies led 26-25 at the break. Robinson made a fade away jumper with two seconds to play in the half to give Virginia Tech the lead.
Clemson trailed by just one point at the break despite turning the ball over seven times and being outscored 14-0 in points off turnovers. The Hokies had just two turnovers in the opening half.
The Tigers finished the game with just 11 turnovers. The Hokies had five and had a 17-5 edge on points off turnovers.
Clemson will play Georgia Tech at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday in Clemson.