Clemson struggles at free throw line, behind the arc to end its 3-game winning streak
Clemson’s three-game winning streak came to end Saturday as NC State beat the Tigers, 60-54, from PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Tigers had an opportunity to make more history on Saturday. A win would have given Clemson a 4-0 record against NC State, Duke and North Carolina, giving them the tiebreaker to the Triangle Teams for the first time in history. However, poor shooting kept that from happening.
Clemson struggled all afternoon from behind the arc and at the foul line. The Tigers were just 5 of 20 from three-point range and 9 of 23 from the charity stripe. Clemson came into Saturday’s game ranked 11th in the ACC foul shooting.
NC State was not much better from three-point range. The Wolfpack finished just 5 of 24 from behind the arc. However, though not great, they were 14 of 21 from the foul line, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
The Tigers (9-8, 3-4 ACC) were led by Aamir Simms’ 18 points and 11 rebounds. Tevin Mack finally got going in the second half and finished with 12 points and six boards, but it was a little too late. The Wolfpack was led by Devin Daniels’, Markell Johnson’s and D.J. Funderburk’s 13 points.
The win allowed the Wolfpack to even the season series with Clemson, who won at Littlejohn on Jan. 4 between the two teams.
NC State (12-5, 4-3 ACC) led by as many as 18 points in the game. That came in the second half when C.J. Bryce nailed a three-pointer for a 47-29 lead with 15:16 to play.
Clemson rallied several times to cut the lead under 10 points. The Tigers got it to 56-50 with 1:21 to go on a Simms’ layup, but NC State’s Braxton Beverly drained a three as time expired on the shot clock to give the Wolfpack a 59-50 advantage on the next possession, ending a 7-0 Clemson run.
In the end, Clemson’s poor free throwing shooting did the Tigers in.
After taking a 15-8 lead following a Simms layup with 12:17 to play in the first half, Clemson made just three of its last 13 shots and was outscored 28-9 by NC State to close out the first half. NC State lead 36-24 at halftime.
The Tigers controlled the game early. Simms made five of his first six shot attempts and had 12 of the Tigers’ first 15 points. But no one else did anything really in the first 20 minutes. Simms finished the half 5 of 9 from the field, while the rest of the team went 4-15 combined.
Simms made the only three-pointer for Clemson, while the rest of the team was 0-7 from behind the arc. He was 1-1 from the foul line, the rest of the Tigers were 4-14.
The Tigers opened the game by making six of their first 11 shots, including six straight at one point. They used a 15-3 run to take their largest lead of the game at seven points, 15-8.
Clemson will next host Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson on Tuesday at 8 p.m.