Al-Amir Dawes sealed the deal with a layup with one second remaining on the clock to give Clemson a 70-69 win over sixth-ranked Florida State.
Dawes led the way for the Tigers, as he played 36 minutes and finished 8-of-19 from the field with 18 points including the game winner.
For the third time this season Clemson (15-13, 9-9 ACC) knocked off a top-10 team in Littlejohn Coliseum as the Florida State joined Duke and Louisville.
Head coach Brad Brownell was impressed by Dawes on the game’s final play.
“We talked about that during the scrum and said if they make a basket get it out and go,” Brownell said. “We got it into him, he went to the basket and he made a tough play.”
The Seminoles (24-5, 14-4 ACC) certainly demonstrated why they are a national contender and shot the lights out in the first half of play. Florida State finished the first half at 61.5-percent from the field and 41.7-percent from three-point range.
But Clemson kept the game within reach and finished the first half down 39-32 behind solid play from Al-Amir Dawes who racked up 13 points in the first half.
The Tiger defense stood tall to start the second half and kept Florida State without a field goal for nearly eight minutes of play and just 2-of-12 shooting for the first ten minutes of the half.
Clemson stormed back to tie the game at 44-44 on a John Newman layup with 14:24 to play. The Tigers continued to capitalize on the newfound momentum and claimed their first lead since the game’s opening minutes with 13:35 remaining in the contest.
The Seminoles pushed back out in front with a 5-0 short run but again Clemson pushed back and tied the game at 56-56 with 4:54 to play in the contest.
Tevin Mack nailed a three pointer with 1:42 to play in the contest and put Clemson back in front 65-63 but a pair of free throws tied the game entering the final minute.
Both teams traded punches in the final minute before Clyde Trapp missed a pair of field goals with 19 seconds remaining while Clemson led 68-67.
On the second miss, an inadvertent whistle gave possession to Florida State via the possession arrow and Trent Forrest took advantage with a go-ahead bucket with nine seconds to give the Seminoles a 69-68 advantage.
Dawes took the inbounds pass and weaved across the course before sealing the Tiger win with a layup on the right side of the basket as he lost his balance and sunk the shot with one second remaining to give Clemson the 70-69 victory.
Brownell knows in a few weeks his team will be judged by their whole body of work in regards to post-season play but feels Clemson has made its case since getting a few players back from injuries early in the season.
We’re going to get judged on our full body of work but we are a different team,” Brownell said. “Early on we didn’t have some guys and it was hard the first two months. Now we just know who we have so we can plan and understand our roles with the same guys consistently.”
Clemson returns to action on March 4 at Virginia Tech, tip-off is set for 7 p.m.