Sometimes you get a do-over and sometimes you don’t.
For guard Marcquise Reed, he will get an opportunity to make amends from Clemson’s 69-67 loss at NC State on Jan. 26, when the ninth-seeded Tigers take on No. 8 seed NC State at noon in Wednesday’s second day of the ACC Tournament at the Spectrum in Charlotte.
The graduate student missed four straight free throws in the final 13 seconds back in January, which left the door open for an improbable win for the Wolfpack. After trailing by seven points with under a minute to play, Braxton Beverley drained a three-pointer as time expired to hand Clemson a two-point loss.
It was the first of four games the Tigers (19-12, 9-9 ACC) lost on the final play of the game in league play.
“Certainly, it was disappointing the way the (NC State) game ended. We did a lot of really good things to win the game and unfortunately, we did not finish it,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “Give them credit for making a big-time shot. It’s just another important game and it is in the ACC Tournament and you should be excited to play. It is the best basketball tournament in the country.”
Reed was ready to play the second he got off the bus from Raleigh. While his teammates went home and tried to forget about what happened that afternoon, he stayed back and shot free throws.
The All-ACC performer finished the year making 84.9 percent of his foul shots. Before he missed those rare four in a row at NC State, he had made 9 of his first 10. It was just one of those weird occurrences that sometimes happen.
“I don’t think he is bothered by a few missed shots,” Brownell said. “He just has confidence that he is always going to make the next play.”
Reed did bounce back. He scored 26 points in the next game against Pittsburgh and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. The graduate student finished the regular season making his last 24 free throw attempts, which covered a five-game stretch.
After Clemson started 1-5 in the conference, Reed helped the Tigers win 8 of their final 12 games, which has them in position to make the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year. A win on Wednesday will solidify their tournament bid.
Against Notre Dame last Wednesday, Reed made a crucial steal and then two big-time free throws in the final seconds to help the Tigers beat the Irish. In the season finale against Syracuse, the senior was 8-for-8 from the foul line and scored a game-high 24 points.
“He is a shot maker. So, he can find some different ways to make tough shots,” Brownell said. “I think he has just been wired that way his whole life. I don’t think he has ever done anything else. He probably has been the leading scorer since he was six-years old on every team he has played on, I imagine.
“That is just how he plays, who he is and what he wants to do.”
Reed heads into the ACC Tournament ranked third in the conference in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game. But he just is not a score. Reed fills up the stat sheet on most night.
“I think, what he has really done better is he has gotten to where the last couple of years he has become a pretty good assist guy,” Brownell said. “I don’t know what his assist number is this year, but I think he almost had hundred last year. This year, he has done a very good job rebounding the ball as well.”
The guard is averaging 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game to go along with his scoring ability. He also is shooting 45.5 percent overall from the field and 35.8 from behind the arc.
“He has really worked to become a more complete player since he has come to Clemson. We have talked to him a lot about improving his defense all of those things,” Brownell said. “He has improved it tremendously and obviously that was evident this past Saturday.”
On Wednesday, Reed will have an opportunity to redeem himself against NC State.