Victory snaps Clemson's 3-game losing streak
It was not pretty.
Actually, it was pretty ugly.
But none of that matters. The most important thing is Clemson found a way to win.
Led by senior Aamir Simms’ 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists, the Tigers did just enough Wednesday to beat No. 25 Louisville, 54-50, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. The win snapped Clemson’s three-game losing streak. Simms led all scorers with his 16 points.
“It depends on what you define as pretty. It was pretty to guys that compete,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after the game. “If you like guys that are competing. If you like guys that are fighting. If you like guys that are getting the most out of extra efforts and multiple effort possessions, defensively, then it was a beauty to watch.”
The Tigers also got 15 points from point guard Al-Amir Dawes, who drained a big three-pointer with 2:51 to play that gave them a 49-41 lead at the time. Brownell said Dawes has been hampered with a pulled groin the last few weeks and he is just now getting back to full strength.
“It is great to have Al back,” Simms said. “That is the Al-Amir Dawes that everyone in Clemson knows. Al is used to hitting big shots.”
Clemson also got 10 points from forward Hunter Tyson.
The Tigers made just 7 of 35 three-point attempts. However, Louisville was just 5-for-24 from behind the arc and shot just 32 percent from the field overall. Clemson shot 36 percent from the floor.
The Cardinals (10-4, 5-3 ACC) were shooting 44 percent from the field coming into the night.
Clyde Trapp hit a jumper in the lane to give Clemson a 43-37 lead with 4:20 to play. Trapp’s jumper was part of 6-0 run over 3:36 for the Tigers. The Cardinals were 0-for-6 from the field during that stretch.
“I was just being poised. The game was kind of going in their favor (earlier),” said Trapp, who finished the night with six points, seven rebounds and two assists. “I think it was like a 6-0 run or whatever and they had scored like twice or three times in a row and we were not moving the ball as well as we were at the beginning of the half. So, it was just poise. I thought I could make a play and that is what I feel like I did.”
The Tigers (10-4, 4-4 ACC) are the first team this year to beat Louisville when trailing at the break. The Cardinals led 22-21 at halftime.
Louisville extended the lead to 26-21 at the start of the second half. It turned out to be its largest lead of the game. The Tigers’ 49-41 lead following the Dawes’ three was their largest lead of the night.
“It is a big-time win for our guys,” Brownell said. “I am just happy for my players. It has been a hard eight or nine days. Not only winning the game, but the way we won it. We got back to who we need to be to be a good team. Defend, play with a lot of energy and just kind of toughed one out.”
Clemson will try to tough out another one at Duke on Saturday. The game is set to tip off at noon and will be televised by ESPN.