Things looked great for Clemson when Aamir Simms hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give the Tigers a 49-31 lead, but foul trouble and a rash of turnovers allowed Florida State to come back and steal an 81-79 overtime win in Tallahassee.
Despite three starters spending significant time on the bench in the first half, Clemson ran out to a 41-29 halftime lead and had pushed it out even further after Simms’ shot. Florida State worked the deficit back down to 11 when Shelton Mitchell picked up his third foul with just under 15 minutes to play.
The Seminoles quickly went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:24 as the Tigers looked completely out of sorts without their point guard.
With a brand new ball game at 51-48 with 13 minutes to play, Clemson managed to keep Florida State at arm’s length until the final two minutes. With the Tigers leading 70-64 late, the Seminoles ended regulation on a 6-0 run - including Trent Forrest’s fall-away layup with 9 seconds remaining - to send the game to overtime. Marcquise Reed missed two shots in the final 23 seconds, either of which would have likely won the game for Clemson.
In overtime, the Tigers worked their way out to a 4-point lead with two minutes left, but a C.J. Walker three followed by another acrobatic layup by Forrest gave Florida State the lead. The Seminoles eventually built a 4-point lead of their own with just 12 seconds remaining.
Mitchell suffered a scary hit to the head on his drive to the basket that followed and had to be carried off the court (He went to the hospital afterwards for a precautionary CT scan).
After a quick David Skara layup to cut the lead to 2, Skara stole a deep Florida State pass and was fouled in the process, putting him at the free throw line with a chance to tie the game. But he made just one of two, and Forrest followed by knocking down a pair for the Seminoles. With Florida State electing to foul Marcquise Reed to prevent a tying 3-point attempt by Clemson, Reed made the first and missed the second intentionally. Elijah Thomas was able to get his hands on the rebound but couldn’t get a shot up or draw a foul call for the Tigers as time expired on a frustrating 81-79 loss.
Reed played all 45 minutes and led Clemson with 23 points, but just one more shot dropping in an 8-for-21 effort from the floor could have been the difference.
Skara and Gabe DeVoe each scored 11, while Aamir Simms chipped in 10.
The Tigers simply couldn’t overcome their 21 turnovers, 13 of which came from DeVoe, Reed and Mitchell.
Phil Cofer scored 17 points - all in the second half - to lead the Seminoles, including several tough jumpers down the stretch that prevented the Tigers from gaining separation. Forrest added 16 and Terrance Mann 13.
Clemson hosts Duke at 1 p.m. on Sunday.