Notre Dame got 18 points from Rex Pflueger and 14 points from John Mooney as the Irish beat Clemson 61-57 Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. The loss was the Tigers’ third straight and snapped their four-game home winning streak.
Clemson was led by Alex Hemenway’s and Tevin Mack’s 16 points. The loss dropped Clemson to 11-12 overall and 5-8 in ACC play. Notre Dame improved to 15-8 overall and 6-6 in the ACC.
The Tigers played the game without leading scorer Aamir Simms, who was out with the flu. Hemenway’s 16 points were a career-high. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 4-for-7 from behind the arc.
Mack was 6-for-16 from the field. Clemson, as a team, shot 36 percent overall and 26 percent from three-point range. They were 9-for-34 from deep.
Clemson led by as many as seven points, 36-29, on a Mack three with 16:19 to play in the game.
“Obviously, we had chances. We had a seven-point lead in the second half and then we just don’t make enough shots,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “It has been hard for us a little bit at times. We feel like we got some decent shots, but you have to knock them in.”
Pflueger made a dagger three from the top of the key to extend the Irish’s lead to 57-52 with 1:07 to play in the game. His three pretty much did the Tigers in at that point.
Hemenway tied the game at 50 with two free throws with 4:04 to play in the game, but Notre Dame got back-to-back baskets from TJ Gibbs and Pflueger to take a 54-50 lead with 3:14 to go in the game. Gibbs finished the game with 10 points.
Hemenway’s three-pointer from the right wing brought the Tigers within two, 50-48, 4:54 to play in the game.
Notre Dame broke a 43-43 tie when Mooney made a three from the right side while being fouled by Mack. The forward converted the three to give the Irish a 47-43 lead with 5:54 to go.
Clemson led 29-27 at the break despite making just 5-of-19 shots from behind the arc.
Notre Dame led for the majority of the half and even had a seven-point lead on two different occasions. But the Tigers hung close and eventually grabbed the lead for the first time, 20-19, on a Hemenway three with 3:40 to play in the half.
The Tigers also led following a Clyde Trapp three-pointer with 3:01 to go and then Trey Jemison’s jump hook with 36 seconds to play for its 29-27 advantage at halftime.
Clemson shot just 33 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including their 5-for-19 effort from three. The Tigers shot just 26 percent from three-point range in the first half.
The Tigers will play at Pittsburgh Wednesday at 9 p.m.