Clemson Basketball falls in final regular season game

Clemson Basketball (usable)On Saturday night, Clemson lost to Pittsburgh during overtime in their final regular season game of the year. In the last seconds of the game, Pitt scored five points to send the game into overtime. They continued their 12-0 run into overtime to win their final game leading into the ACC Tournament, beginning on Wednesday. The Tigers finished their regular season with a record of 19-11 and an ACC record of 10-8.

Clemson finished sixth in the ACC, an eight-spot improvement from preseason predictions. This season they doubled their ACC wins with 10 and increased their regular season win total from 13 to 15. Their 10 ACC wins tied the 1986-87, 1989-90 and 2007-08 teams for most in Clemson basketball history. Clemson scored 38 points in the first half, the most in an opening half since they played Furman in December.

K.J. McDaniels scored 24 points, his 12th game this season with more than 20 points. He became the 14th player in Clemson basketball history to score 500 points in a single season, and the first since K.C. Rivers in 2007-08. McDaniels scored double figures for the 26th time in 30 regular season games. He also had four assists and a blocked shot, extending his streak to 12 games with at least blocked shot.

Jaron Blossomgame scored in the double figures for the third time this season with 14 points. Jordan Roper scored 12 points and made his first three-pointer in seven games, the longest streak of his career. Rod Hall also scored 12 points for the Tigers. Landry Nnoko posted three of Clemson’s four blocked shots and finished the regular season with 49, second-most on the team.

This was certainly a painful loss,” said head coach Brad Brownell. “It’s disappointing because we played well enough to win. Guys made good plays. We had a lot of guys play well today, but that is going to be overshadowed because of the way we played the last 15 seconds.”

Clemson opened the game with six turnovers in their first 13 possessions. Then they went on a 14-2 run to erase an early lead by Pittsburgh. The Tigers led 38-29 at halftime. Pitt came back in the second half to tie the game and send it into overtime, where they put up an early 7 point lead to hold on for the win.

Clemson’s loss that put their final record to 19-11, rather than 20-10, did some serious damage to their NCAA Tournament hopes. If Clemson steps up during the ACC Tournament, they still have the potential to gain an at-large bid. In order for that to happen, though, K.J. McDaniels needs some help from the rest of his team. As the only player who averages double digit points per game, McDaniels is carrying the team almost completely on his own. If Clemson has any chance of advancing past this weekend, McDaniels needs some help from the rest of his teammates.

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