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Mar 26, 2024

NCAA Tournament Guide: Clemson vs. Arizona (March 28, 2024)



MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The sixth-seeded Clemson University Men’s Basketball program never trailed, leading by as many as 15 points and holding on late, advancing to the fifth NCAA Sweet Sixteen in program history after a 72-64 victory over No. 3 Baylor (24-11) at FedEx Forum in the West Region. The Tigers (23-11) had a ten-point lead at halftime in the first meeting between the programs since 1983.

A 16-2 Baylor lead in a late four-minute span narrowed the margin to two, but Clemson went 8-for-8 from the line in the final two minutes to ice the win.

Clemson advances to play No. 2 Arizona (27-8) at Arena in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 28. The Tigers joined NC State, North Carolina and Duke as ACC teams in the Sweet 16.

Sophomore RJ Godfrey (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) hit a pair of clutch free throws with 29 seconds to play to give Clemson a 68-64 lead, and added two more with 8.3 seconds left to ice the game.

Chase Hunter (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) paced the Tigers offensively for a second straight game, netting 20 points on 5-for-10 shooting, and hit seven of his eight free throw attempts while handing out a team-high six assistsHunter had scored 20 or more points once in the 2023-24 regular season before doing so in both NCAA Tournament games this week.

“We were hanging on for dear life at the end, but I thought our defense for 38 minutes was unbelievable,” said Head Coach Brad Brownell in his postgame interview on TNT.

The Tigers held Baylor to 64 points, their third-lowest offensive output of the season, and a 6-of-24 (.250) mark from behind the arc. Clemson hit 20-of-24 (.833) of its free throw attempts, while Baylor was unable to capitalize, hitting 16-of-26 and missing three one-and-one front-ends in the second half.

Ian Schieffelin (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) added 11 points and six rebounds, while Joe Girard III (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) added 13 points, including a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to give the Tigers a six-point advantage.

PJ Hall (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) finished with 11 points in just 19 minutes as he battled foul trouble throughout before fouling out with 36.2 seconds to play.

After the teams traded three-pointers and were tied 5-5 in the first four minutes, Jack Clark’s (Cheltenham, Pa./Cheltenham) layup with 16:34 remaining in the first half gave the Tigers the lead for good. Hunter’s double-pump buzzer-beater from 25 feet just before halftime gave Clemson the 35-25 lead heading into the half.

Clemson stretched its lead to 14 six minutes into the second half, and led by 15 minutes after Schieffelin made a jumper with 6:44 to play. The Bears roared back with a 16-2 run to pull within two points at 64-62 with 2:18 to play. But Clemson went 8-for-8 as a team from the free throw stripe in the final two minutes to seal the win.

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