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Tip Drill: Notre Dame Uses 8-2 Run to Win at Clemson, 60-58

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Clemson controlled the game early, but became turnover prone late and allowed Notre Dame to leave Littlejohn with a victory.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

2/10/2015 vs. Notre Dame

Result: L 58-60 
CU Leading Scorer: Jaron Blossomgame (17)
Key Stat: Clemson committed 9 turnovers in the second have after just 2 in the first

  • After falling down 0-4 to start the game, Clemson went on an 11-0 run. Notre Dame countered with a three-pointers and a switch to zone defense, but Clemson managed to adjust and make the big baskets they've missed oftentimes this season. They started the game shooting very well. They made three of their five three-point field goals in the first 10:33 of the game.

  • Nnoko picked up his first foul at the 12:30 mark and left the game, but Djitte was ready to play. Sidy Djitte came up with a nice block followed by a smooth lay-up under the basket. He'd force another turnover and score two more on a tip in just moments later. He's exceeding expectations as a very solid reserve.

  • Roper has stolen the headlines the past few games, but Austin Ajukwa played well in 15 minutes and Demarcus Harrison had the hot hand knocking down three three-pointers and scoring 15 points in 25 minutes. Roper was just 1-8.

  • Blossomgame was able to find his points more naturally in this game. Coming in, Clemson was 5-1 when Blossomgame registers a double-double. He had 17 and 14, but the Tigers dropped to 5-2 in those contests.

  • At the end of the first half, Clemson elected not to take the "two-for-one" and hurry when they had possession with about 50 seconds remaining. The decision gave Notre Dame the final possession during which they'd use great ball movement to knock down a momentum changing three.

  • Clemson only had 2 turnovers in the first half, and Notre Dame had only 4. Both teams posted eFG% marks over 50 and offensive efficiency marks over 100 in the half. Clemson's biggest advantage was on the glass as they earned a 18-13 rebounding edge.

  • 6'5" senior Jerian Grant was incredibly impressive. He knocked down two fadeaways against perfect defense and posted a 132 Ortg with 22 points. He was a perfect 7-7 from the line. 

  • Clemson won the battle on the glass. They grabbed 78.1% of defensive rebounding opportunities (vs. 59.4%) and 40.6% of offensive rebounding opportunities (vs. 20.9%). They grabbed 5 more rebounds than the Irish in the first half and did even better getting 7 more in the second to finish with a 38-26 advantage. This helped ease their disadvantage from three and the free throw line. It wasn't enough however to overcome the turnovers. After just 2 turnovers in the first half, they had 9 in the second half. Meanwhile, Notre Dame remained consistent at 4 in each half. This was the #1 reason we lost.

  • Notre Dame closed the game on an 8-2 run sparked by turnovers. A careless pass by Demarcus Harrison wasted a great defensive effort and allowed Notre Dame to tie the game. Grantham missed his fourth three-point attempt of the game and then Notre Dame would take the lead on a second chance basket. Grantham finished 0-7. He has shown flashes, but has been wildly inconsistent. He was very good against Miami.

  • On the final play, Rod Hall was fouled, but the referees didn't want to decide the game. To me it looked like a missed call, but Notre Dame immediately turned it over and Harrison got a reason look at the game winning three so it's hard to complain. Harrison was 3-4 from three in the game to that point and was shooting 36% on the season. Meanwhile, missing game winning free throws against Notre Dame should sound familiar. I'm not sure the missed call is a valid excuse for a game that was lost on turnovers.

  • Clemson battled hard and played much better than they did against Miami. With less on the table, I find myself less upset about this loss. Clemson should be able to turn around and pick up the easiest win available in the ACC, at home against VT. If they do that, they'll just need to finish 3-2 or 3-3 (including the ACC tournament) to reach the 17-win mark we figured they needed to make the NIT and honestly it looks like 16 wins could be enough.