CLEMSON, S.C. — Late-game heroics from Nick Honor highlighted a come-from-behind overtime victory by No. 19 Clemson on Tuesday. NC State led by as many as nine points, but the Tigers were able to force overtime at Littlejohn Coliseum, thanks in large part to Honor, who hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation. The Tigers outscored the Wolfpack 12-8 in overtime and won a 74-70 thriller.
Connecting on 31 shot attempts, including nine 3-pointers, the Tigers (9-1, 3-1) recorded a field goal percentage of 44.9. The Wolfpack (6-2, 2-1) shot 42.6 from the field and made seven threes. NC State also made 17 foul shots and pulled down 40 rebounds. Offensively, Clemson dominated in the paint, racking up 42 points, and benefited from 36 points being scored off the bench. Furthermore, the Tigers corralled 37 rebounds, dished out 11 assists and scored 11 points off 14 NC State turnovers.
Making quite a splash off the bench, Honor led all players with a season-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He made 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc and tallied three rebounds and three assists. Clyde Trapp scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Aamir Simms collected seven boards, as well, and he scored eight points and recorded a game-high four assists. P.J. Hall chipped in eight points and hit a clutch shot in overtime. Also of note, Jonathan Baehre contributed seven points and six rebounds, and Alex Hemenway registered seven points to go along with his four boards. For NC State, D.J. Funderburk tabbed 20 points and seven rebounds, and Devon Daniels finished with 18 points and 10 boards.
On the game’s opening possession, Al-Amir Dawes knocked down a 3-point shot. Olivier-Maxence Prosper made a trey of his own at the 16:36 mark of the first half, putting Clemson up 8-5. Not long after that, Trapp drove past a defender and threw down an emphatic two-handed slam. The dunk knotted the score at 10 points apiece, and Trapp went on to net a three-ball that tied the game up 20-all. Honor proceeded to make a pair of 3-pointers in quick succession, and the Tigers then produced a 6-0 run to trim NC State’s lead to two points. The Wolfpack closed out the half on a 5-0 run, though, and led 39-32 at the intermission.
Early in the second half, Honor scored five straight points with a 3-pointer and an athletic reverse layup. With 14:38 on the game clock, he made another triple to pull the Tigers within three. NC State remained on top for most of the second half. Hemenway decreased Clemson’s deficit to four with a three at the 4:59 mark. Defense helped the Tigers come from behind and force overtime, as the Wolfpack were held without a field goal for the final 7:39 of regulation. Honor’s aforementioned trey in the final minute tied the game at 62-62, and, in overtime, Honor hit a pull-up floater in the lane that placed Clemson ahead by four. After Daniels made a pair of free throws, Hall had a hook shot of his bounce off the iron and in with 10 seconds left. Marking the biggest shot of Hall’s young career, the pivotal basket helped keep the Wolfpack at bay and culminated in the 74-70 final score.
Clemson will next head to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a showdown against North Carolina (7-4, 2-2) on Saturday, Jan. 9. The contest at the Dean E. Smith Center marks the first of two scheduled meetings between the Tigers and the Tar Heels this season. Set to tip off at 7 p.m., the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“This was a hellacious win. There’s no other way to put it. NC State was more aggressive in the first half, but our guys rallied. In the second half, we did what we were planning to do coming into the game. Our defense in the second half was terrific. Nick [Honor] made shots and gave us a huge jolt of confidence. Aamir [Simms] played great down the stretch. I’m proud of P.J. [Hall] and Alex [Hemenway], who both hit big shots for us.”
On P.J. Hall’s performance:“He’s just going to keep getting better. He’s really learning a lot. Aamir’s helped him tremendously, and Coach [Antonio Reynolds] Dean’s done a great job of working with him. I’m proud of Al [-Amir Dawes] throwing him the ball for that last shot. It was the right play. There was space there, but he passed to P.J. The basketball gods might’ve tipped it in for us, but he made the shot.”
On Alex Hemenway’s performance:“Alex just has an even temperament about him. He doesn’t get too high or too low, and that’s one his strengths as a player. We have a lot of confidence in him. He opens some things up because he’s always guarding really hard. He made a play and knocked down a runner, and that gave him confidence down the stretch.”
On the keys to the win:“The longer the game went on, the better we executed. We’ve really executed down the stretch well recently. I’m super proud of our guys for handling their business against a team that’s really aggressive.”