Nick Honor made a clutch three-pointer to force overtime and then freshman P.J. Hall got a lucky bounce on a hook shot with 10.8 seconds to play in overtime as No. 19 Clemson rallied for a 74-70 victory over NC State Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Honor, who led all scorers with 21 points, buried a three-pointer with 38.3 seconds to play in regulation to tie the game at 62-62. It marked the first tie in the game since 20-20 with 8:50 to play in the first half.
“To be honest there wasn’t too much thought to it,” Honor said about the game-tying shot. “I was just running, and I knew two people were on Aamir because he did a good job pushing the ball and as soon as he flipped it back to me, I didn’t really think about it. I just let it go, and that’s pretty much it.”
Clemson (9-1, 3-1 ACC) had an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but Honor’s attempt at the game-winner in the final seconds was blocked. However, the former transfer made up for it in overtime when he hit a floater in the lane with his left hand for a 72-68 lead with 50.5 seconds to play.
“He’s a confident guy and a little bit of an overachiever based on his size,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said about Honor after the game. “We weren’t sure because of his size if he would be good enough. That’s the hardest thing about recruiting is measuring a guy’s heart. He is a big-time player and will make big time plays when he gets the shot. I put the ball in his hand at the end because I wanted him to take the shot.”
The Tigers made their last four shots in overtime to get the win, including Hall’s hook shot to seal the victory.
“It was a great pass by Al-Amir Dawes,” Hall said. “He made a great pass with the across-the-key-entry to the post which is virtually impossible and probably the best pass from the team. Then I faced up and saw the middle and turned back to the right hand and got a good bounce. I got a very good bounce.”
Clemson finished the overtime period 6-for-7 from the field.
“Heck of a ball game and we are fortunate to win,” Brownell said. “I thought they did a great job and were more prepared than we were.”
While the Tigers were hitting everything in the extra period, NC State went the last 3:14 without a field goal. That is on top of the final 7:39 of regulation the Wolfpack went without a field goal. The Pack missed their last six shots in regulation and were 2 for their last 11 before overtime.
NC State (6-2, 2-1 ACC) led 55-50 on a D.J. Funderburk layup with 7:39 to play before Clemson started its rally.
In overtime, Clyde Trapp gave Clemson its first lead with a jumper from the Elbow for a 64-62 lead. NC State hit a three from Funderburk for a 67-66 advantage with 3:14 to play, but that was the Pack’s last field goal of the game.
Besides Honor’s 21 points, the Tigers also got 11 points and seven rebounds from Trapp. Clemson was able to pull out the win despite senior and leading scorer Aamir Simms scoring just eight points. However, he scored all eight points in the second half and overtime.
Simms also had seven rebounds.
Hall finished the night with eight points. The freshman was 4-for-7 from the field.
Clemson trailed most of the game, but behind Honor’s play the Tigers’ scrambled and found a way to get the win.
The Wolfpack was led by Funderburk’s 20 points. Devon Daniels added 18 points in the loss.
NC State led the Tigers 39-32 at the break. The Wolfpack shot 15-of-27 from the field in the first half, including 6-of-10 from behind the arch.
“They really attacked us and for whatever reason we weren’t ready to go,” Brownell said. “We talked about it at halftime and certainly played much more inspired. Nick hit some clutch shots and loosened us up. I’ll give our guys credit because they played really well down the stretch.”
The Pack led by as many as eight points in the first 20 minutes, and that was a 34-26 lead with 4:00 to play after a Thomas Allen jumper. While NC State was hitting their shots, the Tigers were struggling. Clemson was just 13-of-32 from the field in the opening half.
Clemson will play at North Carolina on Saturday. Tip is set for 7 p.m., in Chapel Hill.