Tigers advance to ACC Tournament semifinals for first time in seven years
NEW YORK — Clemson is headed to the ACC Tournament semifinals thanks to 90-82 victory over No. 12 Boston College Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Tigers, the No. 4 seed, will play No. 1 seed Virginia on Friday at 7 p.m.
“I thought our guys did a lot of good things down the stretch handling some press, they mixed up some zones against us, 1-3-1 and 3-2,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “We did a good job of executing against a lot of different defenses, and we made our free throws down the stretch.”
Thursday’s win over BC marks the first time Clemson has advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament since the 2010-’11 season.
The Tigers (23-8) have point guard Shelton Mitchell to thank for its quarterfinal win over BC. After the Eagles cut what was a 16-point Clemson lead to two points, 63-61, on a Ky Bowman three-pointer with 5:49 to play, Mitchell scored six of Clemson next eight points to extend the lead back to 10 with 2:23 to go.
“Really I just saw an opening,” Mitchell said. “I think I forgot who it was, I think (David) Skara had a good screen, and I had a big backing up, so I felt like I could make that shot.
“And really just making free throws. Really just staying focused. We shoot free throws all the time in practice. So just sticking to the same routine, I was confident I was going to be able to knock them down.
Mitchell, who finished with 21 points, followed the jumper with two free throws and a layup to put Clemson up 74-64.
Led by Bowman, the Eagles (19-15) came back from a 16-point deficit thanks to an 8-0 run. But Mitchell and DeVoe made their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
With the win, Brownell now has four ACC Tournament wins, the most for any Clemson coach in the tournament’s history.
“Okay, just a really good win by our guys,” the Clemson coach said. “I thought we — obviously we shot it well. These guys played great. I thought we showed pretty good poise.”
Gabe DeVoe finished with a game-high 25 points on 8-for-18 shooting. It is the third time this year he has scored 25 points in a game. He was 3-for-11 from three-point range.
Mitchell was 6-for-12 from the field, and was 7-for-8 from the foul line.
Clemson was 20-for-22 from the free throw line as a team.
The Tigers are also got three big three-pointers from A.J. Oliver. He finished the game with nine points.
Clemson used a 9-1 run to start the second half to build its 16-point lead, the largest of the game for either team. BC missed its first five shots to start second half and did not have a field goal until the 15:00 minute mark.
“I feel like just we’ve done all season, just staying composed when those situations happen,” DeVoe said. “The game got close, and we made a couple big plays on the offensive end and were able to get stops defensively.”
Clemson led 43-36 at halftime after hitting 9-of-17 three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. They finished the game with 12 overall.
BC opened the game with a 12-3 run, but Clemson rallied for go on a 15-4 run of its own, capped with a Mark Donnal three-pointer from the right corner. That gave the Tigers an 18-16 lead at the time.
“We actually didn’t get off to a great start in the game, but I liked the way we were playing,” Brownell said. “Even though we missed some shots early, we got down maybe it was 7-0. I told our guys I liked our rhythm, I liked what we were doing, let’s just stick with it.
“I thought we hung in there defensively and did about as good a job as you can do on (Jerome) Robinson and Bowman.”
Robinson finished with 20 points, but he was just 4-of-16 from the field, while Bowman had 23 points. He was just 6-of-16 from the field. However, they did combine to make 8-of-19 three-pointers.
Clemson led by as many as 14 points in the first half when DeVoe made a three-pointer to give the Tigers a 36-22 lead at the 5:40 mark.
Chatman, who had 13 first half points for BC, made a three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the half to cut the Clemson lead to seven at the break. Chatman finished the game with 15 poits.
Elijah Thomas led Clemson with 12 rebounds to go along with his 8 points, while Marcquise Reed finished with 12 points and had four assists. Aamir Simms had 10 points and nine rebounds.