CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson University men’s basketball trailed by as many as 12 points early in the second half, but a late surge propelled Clemson into a one-point lead. Clemson ultimately would fall 66-65 to Virginia on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers (14-7, 4-6 ACC) were led offensively by PJ Hall (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) who finished with a game-high 19 points, including 10 at the foul line and 17 in the second half.
Joseph Girard III (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) added 14 on four 3-pointers, while Chase Hunter (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) added 12 and Ian Schieffelin (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) nearly totaled another double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Clemson trailed by 11 with 5:39 to go in the opening stanza, before an 8-0 run closed the gap. Virginia’s Jacob Groves beat the halftime buzzer to put the Cavaliers up by eight at the break.
The Cavaliers scored the first two baskets of the second half to lead by their game-high 12 points, but the Tigers kept battling back and would get the Littlejohn Coliseum crowd loud.
Clemson trimmed a 12-point deficit down to just two points at 56-54 when Hall made his first 3-pointer of the game to go up 57-56. Then with Virginia leading 60-59, a back-breaking four-point play from Isaac McNeely put the Cavaliers up five with 2:11 left.
The Tigers got it back to within a point after three made free throws from Hall. With 7.2 seconds left, Dante Harris missed the first of his one-and-one free throws and Hunter ended up with the ball after a Jack Clark (Cheltenham, Pa./Cheltenham) rebound. Hunter pushed the ball up the floor and found Clark with an open three that would draw the back of the iron as time expired.
Clemson returns to the floor on Tuesday, Feb. 6 when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C. for a showdown with North Carolina at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
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PJ Hall and Chase Hunter