Clemson lost in the finals of the Cayman Island Classic 82 - 87 to the Creighton Bluejays. The Tigers couldn’t overcome an offensive explosion from Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander, another poor shooting night, and the constant whistles from an overly excited officiating crew.
Another bad first half killed the Tigers, as Creighton was able to establish their up and down the court pace early, and Clemson had no answer. Creighton was off and running on every Clemson missed shot and turnover, and the Tigers gave them ample opportunities. The Bluejays Ty-Shon Alexander went nuclear and Clemson couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that he was going to shoot every time he touched the ball. It was a great offensive performance by Alexander coupled with a poor defensive showing by Clemson.
On offense, Clemson ran into yet another poor shooting night. The shots were open, but weren’t finding the bottom of the net. Elijah Thomas tried to get something going, but we derailed by foul trouble. Clemson entered the locker room (or whatever they have in the middle school gym in the Cayman Islands) down 35-45.
Clemson had opportunities to close the gap in the second half, but could never get over the hump. Midway through the second half, Clemson put a run together and looked like they were gathering momentum after cutting the lead to 4 points, but Clemson freshman big man Hunter Tyson was called for the softest flagrant foul in the history of basketball. Creighton made both free throws and put in a dunk on the subsequent possession to extend the lead back to 8. Clemson would manage to cut the lead to 3 with 22 seconds remaining, but the Bluejays wouldn’t cooperate and hit some key free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Clemson Player of the Game
Marquise Reed (I guess)
Reed led the Tigers in scoring with 27 points, but had an uncharacteristically bad shooting night (0-5 from 3) and committed 7 turnovers. He was also one of the defenders that Alexander terrorized all night. Everyone else on the team also played like garbage, so Reed’s 27 points wins the prize tonight.
Reason For Concern
Shelton Mitchell can’t shoot like this forever, right? After going 4-7 from deep against the Citadel in the opener, Mitchell has been mired in a shooting slump, going a horrific 5/22 from deep over last five games. His 0-3 performance from behind the line tonight certainly didn’t help the cause. Defenders are going to start backing off and letting Mitchell shoot until he starts hitting from deep. Clemson is going to need an exceptional year from their senior point guard if the want to reach their lofty expectations.
The refs were absolute garbage tonight.