CLEMSON, S.C. — Behind 22 points and a career-high five 3-pointers from graduate senior guard Shelton Mitchell, Clemson University men’s basketball gritted out a win over No. 11/10 Virginia Tech – holding them to just 28.3 percent shooting from the field in a 59-51 victory.
The Tigers (15-8, 5-5 ACC) held the No. 1-ranked field goal percentage team in the ACC and No. 40 overall in the country to a dismal 28.3 percent shooting, including just 26.3 percent from long range. The 28.3 percent shooting was the lowest of the season for Virginia Tech.
Mitchell led with his 22 points – 18 of which came in the opening stanza. Marcquise Reed hit two big 3-pointers and finished 7-for-7 at the charity stripe.
Elijah Thomas tied his career-high with seven blocked shots – giving the big man 19 blocks in his last three games.
Clemson engineered a 14-0 run in the early going, including 12-straight points from Mitchell to race out to a nine-point advantage and never looked back as the Tigers led the Hokies (18-5, 7-4 ACC) for 35:43 of game play.
After taking a four-point lead into the break, the Tigers were able to fend off the Hokies at every turn. Virginia Tech closed to within three points on five occasions in the second half, including to just one at 41-40.
With that narrow one-point advantage following a Kerry Blackshear Jr. jumper, Clemson received huge shots – both 3-pointers – from Reed and freshman forward Hunter Tyson to push the lead back to seven.
The lead closed to three again at 47-44 and Reed yet again hit another big three. The next trip down the floor following a missed shot, David Skara hit a tough step-back three to tie Clemson for its largest lead of the game at nine and the Tigers were able to close out the eight-point victory.
Skara finished with three points, but it was his defense that mattered most on Saturday. Skara held the Hokies’ leading scorer, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, to just 3-for-14 shooting from the floor.
Notes: Clemson won its fourth league game in a row … with the win the Tigers improved to 26-3 (.897) at Littlejohn in its last 29 games … also with the win head coach Brad Brownell won his 164th game at Clemson – leaving him 13 shy of tying Cliff Ellis for the most in school history … the win snapped a four-game losing streak to Virginia Tech and earned the program’s 16th victory all-time against the Hokies … with four steals in the contest, Marcquise Reed improved from 15th to 13th on the all-time list at Clemson … Reed now has 145 steals as a Tiger … he stands alone in fifth all-time with 1.65 steals per contest … with 15 points it marked Reed’s 60th double-digit scoring game of his career – just 10 shy of tying Butch Zatezalo (1967-70) and Larry Nance (1977-81) for 16th all-time at Clemson … Elijah Thomas tied his career-high of seven blocked shots today … he has blocked 19 shots over just the last three contests … Thomas now has 158 blocks in his Clemson career – 19 shy of tying Sharrod Ford (2001-05) for ninth on the all-time list … Thomas also jumped to fourth all-time in Clemson history with 1.93 blocks per game in his career … Thomas led the Tigers with nine rebounds and now has 563 in his Clemson career … Thomas is 41 rebounds shy of tying Horace Wyatt (1978-82) for 25th on the all-time list … Hunter Tyson tied his career-high with two made field goals … Shelton Mitchell notched a new career-high with five made 3-pointers … Mitchell posted his eighth 20-point game of his career … Mitchell’s 22 points ties a season high … the Hokies 28.3 percent shooting from the field was their lowest of the season.