SOUTH BEND, IN – Despite 30 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots from K.J. McDaniels, Clemson fell to Notre Dame in double overtime on Tuesday, 68-64 at Purcell Pavilion. McDaniels rallied his teammates from a seven-point deficit in the final minutes of regulation, and from a four-point deficit in the final minute of the first overtime period. But in the end, Notre Dame improved to 13-12, 4-8 in the ACC. The Tigers dropped to 15-8 overall, 6-5 in league play.
McDaniels made 13-of-24 field goals, both career highs as well, in one of Clemson’s greatest performances by an individual player in an ACC road game. It was the first 30-point game of his career Tuesday. His 14 rebounds were also a career-high. Rod Hall added 12 points, including a free throw with 4.6 seconds to play in regulation that sent the game into overtime. Clemson shot just 34 percent as a team and lost the rebound battle, 43-40.
Notre Dame was led by Eric Atkins’ 16 points and Pat Connaughton’s 13-point, seven-assist performance. The Irish shot 40 percent for the game. Clemson won points off turnovers, second chance points and bench points, yet lost the game.
Compared to previous games, Clemson was able to knock down some shots in the first half. The problem, however, was that the Tigers were trading baskets. Clemson jumped ahead 18-15 on Jaron Blossomgame‘s uncontested putback, but the Irish answered quickly with an inside move from Sherman and two free throws from V.J. Beachem.
Hall hit a driving layup that put Clemson up 20-17, but Landry Nnoko picked up his second foul on the next play. The Irish then had an 8-2 run with Nnoko relegated to the bench, giving Notre Dame a 25-20 lead. The lead grew to as much as seven at 28-21 on a Connaughton three. Clemson answered with back to back triples from McDaniels and Harrison, but Beachem made a runner in the lane in the final seconds to give Notre Dame a 32-27 halftime edge.
In the second frame, Clemson saw the Irish go up as much as eight at 38-30, but McDaniels drained his fourth long-range shot of the game to pull Clemson within one at 44-43. Still down just one at 48-47, Notre Dame reeled off four straight to prompt a Tiger timeout at the 4:31 mark. The lead grew to seven with 2:49 left, but after a timeout, Brad Brownell implemented a 1-3-1 zone defense. Clemson got two steals and two scores off of it to pull within one at 54-53 inside a minute to play. A third turnover off the inbounds led a Hall drive down the left side, where he was fouled with 4.6 ticks left. He made the second free throw to extend the game to an extra session.
Down four in the first overtime, Clemson went back to its 1-3-1 and produced turnovers. First, Hall hit a bucket with 10.6 to go. Then on the ensuing inbounds play, Clemson got a steal and Nnoko was fouled under the basket. He made both free throws and sent the game into the second overtime. From there, the Irish pulled away after a long three by Steve Vasturia.
The Tigers return home to face 16th-ranked Virginia on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum.
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