Clemson got 25 points from Jordan Roper and 24 from Jaron Blossomgame but couldn't overcome a poor defensive effort in an 89-83 loss to Minnesota in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Jordan Murphy scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds—8 of them offensive—to lead the Gophers to a comeback win in which they trailed by as many as 10 in the first half.
The Tigers led 42-36 at the half after Roper's tip-in at the buzzer, but Minnesota poured in 53 second-half points against a Clemson team that typically prides itself on its defense. But they had no answer for Murphy, who led a balanced attack that also got at least 15 points each from Joey King, Nate Mason and Charles Buggs.
Both teams shot better than 50% percent from the field, and Clemson knocked down an impressive 14 for 28 from beyond the arc. The difference in the game though was at the free-throw line, where Minnesota attempted 30 to Clemson's 15 and converted 24 of them for an 80% mark.
Clemson returns home Wednesday to face USC-Upstate.
- What a waste of a great offensive performance. Roper had one of his crazy hot games and JB was great on that end as well, but they didn't get enough help in the end. That being said, 83 points should be enough to win just about any game.
- As good as Blossomgame was on offense, he may have been that bad on defense. I'm not sure what he was doing out there. He struggles mentally on that end on occasion but it was glaring tonight.
- It's hard to ask a whole lot more of Avry Holmes. He knocked down 3 of 6 threes and had six assists to just one turnover. He missed his three two-point attempts, so he could have been a bit more efficient, but coming into the season the two main things we wanted from him were three-point shooting and effective running of the offense.
- Nnoko and Grantham didn't get involved offensively until too late in the game. It's tough when Roper and Bgame are on fire, but if you can get 10 and 12 points from those two instead of 6 and 7 Clemson wins tonight.
- The refs really started to call some ticky-tack fouls in the second half on Clemson. Some of them were fouls, but Minnesota was in the bonus about halfway through the second period and only had two fouls called on them to that point, and that is a very hard thing to overcome for a multitude of reasons.
- We have discussed the lack of perimeter defensive ability on this year's Clemson team, and it's really keeping them from being the type of defensive team we are accustomed to seeing under Brownell. We also saw post fouling issues return in this game, and that could be another problem moving forward. It's a shame because this team may be his best offensive squad.