Tyler Bey had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 21 Colorado to a 71-67 win over Clemson in the MGM Resorts Main Event championship game.
The Tigers were in control for much of the game, leading by as many as 12 in the second half after an Aamir Simms three-point play with 14:38 remaining, but the Buffaloes put together a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to close the gap.
With the teams trading blows through the final media timeout, Clemson still maintained a 63-62 edge entering the final minutes. But Colorado’s D’Shawn Schwartz buried a corner three with 3:31 to play that gave the Buffaloes the lead.
After four straight Colorado free throws pushed the margin to six, Clemson was able to trim the deficit to 69-67 and had two chances to either tie or take the lead. John Newman’s pull-up jumper fell short on the first trip down, and Al-Amir Dawes turned the ball over on the next one, and the Buffaloes were able to ice the game with a pair of free throws with six seconds left.
The Tigers also built a double-digit lead with six minutes to play in the first half thanks largely to Simms and Newman, but a flurry of fouls led to eight straight Colorado free throws in just 1:09 of game time to keep the Buffaloes within striking distance at the half. Clemson led 36-33 at the break.
Colorado made 24 of 25 free-throw attempts after entering the game 326th nationally in free-throw percentage.
Simms tied a career high with 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Newman also tied a career high with 16 points. Tevin Mack cooled off from his impressive performance in the semifinal, however, shooting just 3 of 11 from the floor and 1 of 5 from three-point range.
The Tigers play at Minnesota on Monday night as part of the ACC/B1G Challenge.