A few days after falling to Miami on the road thanks to a last-second buzzer-beater, Clemson suffered another gut-wrenching loss at No. 16 Louisville on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
With Clemson down by one point with 3.5 seconds remaining following a 3-pointer by Marcquise Reed, Reed came up with a steal on the ensuing inbounds pass, but saw his layup attempt in the paint get blocked by Louisville’s Jordan Nwora.
John Newman gathered the offensive rebound but could not hit a shot from the paint as time expired, and the Cardinals hung on to defeat the Tigers, 56-55.
Clemson (15-10, 5-7 ACC) trailed by eight points with just 35 seconds left before going on a 8-1 run — keyed by back-to-back 3’s from Reed — to make the score 56-55 with 3.5 seconds left. But the comeback attempt fell just short when Reed’s floater after his steal on the inbounds pass was swatted away by Nwora.
The Tigers led by as many as seven points early in the second half before Louisville (18-8, 9-4) came from behind on the back of hot 3-point shooting. After making just one 3-point shot on nine attempts in the first half, Louisville connected on 5-of-10 shots from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes.
Following a 3-pointer by Reed that gave Clemson a 39-37 lead with seven minutes remaining, Louisville knocked down back-to-back 3’s to take a four-point lead that it would not relinquish.
Elijah Thomas paced Clemson’s offense with 15 points and pulled in seven rebounds but got into foul trouble and only played 21 minutes. Reed finished with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Shelton Mitchell (12 points) also scored in double-figures for the Tigers.
Christen Cunningham had a game-high 18 points and five assists for Louisville. Nwora was the only other Cardinals player in double-figures with 11 points.
Both teams struggled offensively for most of the game, especially in the first half when the two teams combined for just 42 points. Clemson shot 39 percent from the field for the game, while Louisville shot 35 percent. The teams combined for 31 turnovers, with the Tigers committing 19 of those.
The Tigers led 23-19 at halftime, and there were seven ties and 13 lead changes in the contest.
Clemson returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts 17th-ranked Florida State for a 9 p.m. tipoff at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
We are pleased to announce that our latest magazine is ready for order. Get your order in today to make sure you get a copy of this collector’s edition.