Tigers survive late rally from Jackets, 64-62


It sure doesn't feel like we just ended a 3-game winning streak and picked up our 2nd conference W of the year. It wasn't a very fun game to watch from a Tigers perspective. It was, at least for me, very frustrating to watch. At the time of the power outage, 14 minutes into the game, the Jackets had turned the ball over 14 times, and the score stood at 13-10. They turned the ball over 14 times in 14 minutes and all we had to show for it was 13 points. Ouch. We shot just 25% in this span, and hit just 1 of 6 3-point attempts. And we were out rebounded 17 to 8 in this period. The only positive thing that came out of the pre-power outage period of play was some nice offensive play from Bernard Sullivan, who was able to slash into the lane a couple of times. Sullivan hasn't gotten as much attention or praise as Rod Hall, TJ Sapp, or KJ McDaniels, so it was cool to see some good offensive moves from him.

When the lights came back on in Littlejohn, the lights came back on for Andre too. He's struggled in a lot of games this year, but had a hell of a game today. In a 3 minute span immediately after the power outage, he nailed 4 3-pointers on 4 attempts, and threw in an old-fashioned 3-point play for good measure. Andre finished with a career high 29 points and a career high 7 3-pointers (7-9), and the 15-point outburst that came late in the 1st half was the reason he was able to notch these milestones. And the reason we were able to win this game. The 6 minutes of post-power outage first half basketball was a hell of a lot of fun for any Clemson basketball fan, but the rest of the game was frustrating to watch, to put it lightly. We didn't play well for most of this one. If Andre hadn't had the game of his life, we wouldn't have won this one today.

The pre-power outage 1st half wasn't fun to watch, but the 2nd half was even worse. There were a lot of negative things going on, but the two things that stand out for me was the late game officiating and the piss-poor perimeter defense.

I'm usually not one to criticize the officials. Everyone knows that ACC officiating sucks, so I usually don't even mention it unless it really stands out. And it really stood out today late in the game. There was a 30 second span in the middle of the 2nd half in which 3 Tigers were called for fouls (Hall, Milton, Jennings). I didn't get a good look on the first two, but the call on Tanner was otracious. He played solid defense and barely even grazed the guy, but got called with a foul for some reason. Later in the half, Tanner got poked in the eye and immediately reacted by throwing his hands up, but the zebras didn't call a thing. There were also a couple of terrible out-of-bounds calls, including one in which Brownell may or may not have uttered an f-bomb to one of the officials.

Even with the shitty calls by the zebras, we still had a solid lead, and up 13 with about five minutes left in the game, we were lookin' good. The Jackets chipped away a little bit but we still had an 8 point lead with 2 minutes to go. But then GT made 4 treys in the final 90 seconds and almost escaped with a miracle victory. Glenn Rice Jr. was the leader of the late charge. He went on a scoring run that was almost as impressive as Andre's earlier hot streak, scoring 15 points in the final 5 minutes, including 2 of those 4 late treys.

Our perimeter defense obviously has to improve. That many late game 3s is something you never want to see.

The only reason the Jackets didn't shoot their way to a comeback win was because of Andre Young's free throw shooting. After Tanner missed the front end of a 1 and 1 moments earlier, Andre connected on 3 of 4 in the final 35 seconds.

Also, props to Devin Booker for making 3 of 4 at the charity stripe in the waning moments. But that's about all Devin did today, as he had yet another underwhelming game in a looooooooong line of underwhelming games.

What else to say about this one? Cool to see Bobo's continued progression. He took a step back from his offensive output down at Miami, but he continues to provide valuable minutes and is doing a much better job of attacking the basket. But he also needs to cut down on his TOs. He had 3 today in just 12 minutes of play.

So it's great that we got the victory, but if not for a stellar performance by Andre Young, we would have been toast in this one. I'm hoping for a better played game next Saturday against Wake. No mid-week games this week, so we have all week to prepare, so I'm hoping for a well-played game next weekend.

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