Clemson took to the road Wednesday night for the first time in ACC play, heading up to Syracuse and falling to the Orange 61-53. The loss drops the Tigers to 10-4 on the season and 0-2 in ACC play. With Virginia set to visit Littlejohn on Saturday, this team is realistically looking at an 0-3 start to conference play. Syracuse has now won four straight, improving to 11-4 (2-0 ACC) on the season.
Clemson struggled to score against the 2-3 zone as the Orange held the Tigers to more than 20 points below their season average. Clemson turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 36% from the field. From beyond the arc, it wasn’t any better as the Tigers shot just 5-20.
Marquise Reed led all scorers with 16, but shot only 5-13 from the floor and 2-5 from three. Shelton Mitchell had another off night, shooting just 2-11 and 1-5 from beyond the arc and finished with just 5 points. Elijah Thomas and Aamir Simms pitched in 13 and 9 points respectively, both on 4-6 shooting, and both fouled out. Simms picked up his fifth foul with over 7 minutes still remaining in the game.
After trailing by 15 with just under 9 minutes to play, Clemson was able to chip away at the lead. After two Reed free throws with 3:46 left, the Tigers trailed by just six, 56-50. Reed had a chance to cut it to 4, but missed an easy layup, and Oshae Brissett would hit a jumper on the other end to extend the lead back to 8. The Tigers never got any closer.
Elijah Hughes led the Orange with 14 points, while Tyus Battle and Frank Howard finished with 12 each.
The Tigers will next face fourth ranked Virginia Saturday at noon in Littlejohn Coliseum.