CLEMSON, S.C. — Stringing together a 12-4 run from the 7:56 mark of the second half to the 2:51 mark, Clemson turned a 37-37 tie into a 49-41 lead and proceeded to beat No. 25 Louisville on Wednesday. The Tigers pulled away from the Cardinals down the stretch and earned a 54-50 victory at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers (10-4, 4-4) finished with a shooting percentage of 35.8, while Louisville (10-4, 5-3) registered a field goal percentage of 31.6. Clemson knocked down seven shots from beyond the arc and pulled down 38 rebounds. Additionally, the Tigers scored 16 points in the paint and dished out 12 assists. The Cardinals pulled down 42 rebounds and tallied 19 points off the bench.
Aamir Simms led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the foul line. He also tabbed four assists and narrowly missed out on a double-double by corralling nine rebounds. Al-Amir Dawes netted four 3-pointers en route to scoring 15 points, and Hunter Tyson chipped in 10 points and grabbed four boards. Tyson, who blocked two shots, was an X-factor on defense, too. Clyde Trapp garnered six points and seven rebounds, and Louisville’s Carlik Jones was credited with 11 points and five boards.
A flashy play by the Tigers kicked off the scoring action, with a sweet feed from Simms to Tyson resulting in Tyson driving the baseline and making a reverse layup. Simms put Clemson up 9-5 with a 3-pointer, and, after Louisville took the lead, Al-Amir Dawes swished a deep three to make the score 14-12 in favor of the Tigers at the 8:47 mark of the first half. At the break, the Cardinals sported a 22-21 advantage.
Early in the second half, Dawes sank a trey and a jumper in quick succession, evening the score at 26 points apiece. Tyson scored five straight points to jumpstart Clemson’s offensive surge, with a three-ball giving the Tigers a 37-35 edge and a pull-up jumper from the wing with 7:56 remaining providing Clemson with a 39-37 lead. Making an impact on defense, as well, Tyson emphatically blocked a shot from behind not long after hitting the aforementioned go-ahead jump shot. With 2:51 left, Dawes stretched the Clemson lead to eight points with a 3-pointer, and the Tigers hung on the rest of the way, pulling out a 54-50 win.
On Saturday, Jan. 30, Clemson will face Duke (6-5, 4-3) at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tigers and the Blue Devils will square off at noon, with the tilt in Durham, N.C., airing on ESPN2.
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“This week has been a good time for us to regroup. We had a couple days of practice where we worked on ourselves. We prioritized fundamental drills just to try to get us back, mentally, to the right place.”
On Clemson’s defensive performance:“We did a really good job. Al [-Amir Dawes] is an outstanding on-ball defender, and Aamir [Simms] is a pretty good ball-screen defender for a big. We did a good job of rotating. Our scrambling was good, and we had much better discipline on close-outs. We did a really good job of swarming the ball, and it really paid off. We didn’t let [Louisville] get any offensive rhythm. We kept them at bay.”
On the significance of the win:“I’m just really proud of our players, especially our seniors. They’re coming off a hard week, but they’ve bounced back these last 72 hours. This was a great team win.”