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Clemson Tops NC State, 75-61

Clemson Tops NC State, 75-61

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Clemson earned its second victory in six days over NC State and advanced to the second round of the ACC Tournament with a 75-61 triumph at the Barclays Center on Tuesday. The Tigers, who move on to face fifth-seeded Duke on Wednesday at 2 p.m., moved to 17-14 on the season. NC State finished its campaign with a 15-17 mark.

Jaron Blossomgame and Shelton Mitchell both scored 22 points for the Tigers, who led for nearly 38 minutes in the game. Blossomgame hit 9-17 field goals, while Mitchell was 8-13. Mitchell hit three of Clemson’s seven three-pointers, and also contributed a game-high six assists. In a matchup with NC State point guard Dennis Smith, the ACC Rookie of the Year, Smith struggled to 3-12 shooting with four turnovers. Elijah Thomas also had double figures with 10 points.

The Tigers held an 11-point lead at halftime behind the brilliant first half performance from Blossomgame, who led all players with 14. Before he picked up a second foul with just under three to play, he hit a pivotal three-pointer. Moments later, Avry Holmes made NC State pay going into the break with a three that rattled in with five seconds remaining in the frame.

Mitchell came out hungry in the second half. He blew past ‘Pack defenders for a highlight reel jam, then hit a key three-point goal from the corner to lift his team to a 54-41 lead at the under-12 timeout. Marcquise Reed got in the act a couple of possessions later, and after a three from the same spot, extended the cushion to 16. Clemson’s biggest advantage was 17 following two Reed free throws.

Postgame Notes

  • The Tigers won their first ACC Tournament game since 2014 with a 75-61 win on Tuesday; it was Clemson’s first over NC State in the conference tournament since 1994, and the third in the series with the Wolfpack in the event (3-6).
  • Clemson won its third straight game to start the month of March; that is the first time a Tiger team has achieved that since 1980.
  • The Tigers had 17 offensive rebounds Tuesday, their highest total against an ACC foe this season and most against any opponent since SC State (23) on Dec. 13.
  • Clemson’s field goal percentage defense (.380) was its best figure since the Pittsburgh (.327) game on Jan. 28.
  • Head coach Brad Brownell tied Cliff Ellis (1984-94) for the most wins in Clemson history against ACC teams with 59. He would take sole possession of the career record with a win over Duke on Wednesday.
  • Jaron Blossomgame produced 22 points, his 31st career game with at least 20 points, fifth-most in Clemson history.
  • Blossomgame now has double figures in 85 career games, tied for sixth in Clemson history with Tree Rollins (1973-77).
  • Blossomgame passed K.C. Rivers (2005-09) for seventh in school history in career points (1,690). He needs 10 against Duke to be the sixth player to score at least 1,700 as a Tiger.
  • Blossomgame started his 123rd career game Tuesday, claiming sole possession of third-most in Clemson’s record books behind Trevor Booker (2006-10) and Cliff Hammonds (2004-08).
  • Blossomgame now owns sole possession of sixth in Clemson history with 372 career free throws.
  • Shelton Mitchell produced his second 20-point game of the season, matching Blossomgame for game-high honors with 22.
  • Mitchell matched career highs for both field goals (8) and three-pointers (3).
  • Mitchell has scored double figures in nine straight and 11 of Clemson’s past 12 games.
  • Sidy Djitte posted six offensive rebounds Tuesday, giving him 107 on the season; that ties Trevor Booker for the most by a Tiger since 2008-09.
  • Djitte’s 13 rebounds were his highest figure since the SC State (13) game on Dec. 13.
  • Marcquise Reed has made his last 12 free throw attempts and is shooting 89.9 percent on the season.
  • Avry Holmes made two three-point goals Tuesday, giving him 68 on the season; it is the most by a Tiger since Andre Young’s 80 in 2010-11.