Clemson’s senior guard takes over game while scoring a career-high 31 points
When Boston College’s Jared Hamilton made two free throws to cap an 8-0 run, Clemson found itself tied with the Eagles with 4:15 to play.
This was not the spot the Tigers hoped to be in when they entered Saturday afternoon’s contest at Littlejohn Coliseum. As head coach Brad Brownell said earlier in the week, Clemson has no room for error right now, and a loss to a Boston College team that is ranked No. 124 in the NCAA’s NET ranking is not what it needs if it hopes to make the NCAA Tournament next month.
Luckily for the Tigers, someone stepped up and did something about it. That someone was senior guard Marcquise Reed, who decided he had seen enough.
Reed scored nine points during a crucial 10-0 run during a minute and 16-second stretch that allowed Clemson to take control of the game in a 76-66 victory.
“No disrespect to anyone else, but most times at the end of the game, we are looking for Marcquise to make a shot,” forward Aamir Simms said.
After Hamilton’s foul shots, Reed made two free throws of his own to put the Tigers back in front. Following an Elijah Thomas foul shot, Reed pulled up from the left elbow on a fast break and drained a 15-footer to extend Clemson’s lead to 65-60.
The senior then followed with a corner three, giving the Tigers a 68-60 lead with 1:57 to play in the game, and then he made two more free throws for a 70-60 advantage with 1:43 to go.
“We expect him to make big shots because that is what he does,” Simms said. “No matter if it is two minutes left in the game or one minute into the game, we all expect Quise to make big shots because that is what he does. That is kind of his game to make those kinds of shots.
“The same shots he made at the end of the game, he made at the beginning.”
Reed scored 17 of his career-high 31 points in the first half. The 6-foot-3 guard made 7 of his first 11 shots and was 3-for-4 from three-point range.
The Eagles (13-13, 4-10 ACC) kept him in check for nearly 17 minutes in the second half, limiting him to two field goals. However, when the Tigers needed him the most, Reed came through with those nine quick points to put Clemson in front to stay.
“He is more than willing to try and take over,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “There have been occasions, Florida State was one, where he took two bad shots and the game kind of got away from us. It is just understanding … he wants to win so badly, and he believes in himself so much that he is going to try to make big shots and big plays. He wants the ball and he is going to try and do it.
“Occasionally, it can hurt us when it is a little too quick and the rhythm of the game is not what we need it, but when he is going good like today, he is hard to handle.”
Reed, who played all 40 minutes, also had nine rebounds, four assists and five steals in the win, and was 11 of 21 from the field, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc.
“The efficiency in which he scored, and then to watch him on the defensive end harass (Ky) Bowman as much as he tried to and got his hands on balls, he was spectacular,” Brownell said.