Clemson traveled to FSU to take on the Seminoles. KenPom gave the Tigers just a 16% chance to win as Florida State has already notched impressive resume wins against Florida, Tennessee, and Purdue.
A big announcement was made at the start of the game: Jonathan Baehre would come off the bench and return from knee injury. That gave Clemson a ninth healthy scholarship player helping them overcome a bevy of injuries. Unfortunately, Chase Hunter remained out with a foot injury. Khavon Moore started with Chase Hunter out.
The game started well with the Tigers taking a 12-6 lead into the first TV timeout. The first half was turnover filled with 9 from the Tigers and 7 from the Seminoles. Dawes carried the Tigers with 11 first half points. The Noles pulled close, but Aamir Simms knocked down a buzzer beating three-pointer to send them into halftime with a 6-point lead (33-27).
The Seminoles started the second half on a 10-0 run. The Tigers were held scoreless for the first 4 minutes and 10 seconds of the half. Newman nailed a three and the Tigers trailed by one. FSU would continue to be the better team in the second as they build a 10-point lead with 9:45 remaining (52-41).
The Tigers switched a 2-3 zone for a bit, but it didn’t stop the bleeding. The Tigers were severely outmatched in the second half and continued to fall further and further behind, eventually losing 72-53. Florida State adjusted their personnel and went smaller and faster in the second half and the Tigers had no answers.
The Tigers didn’t have the depth to keep up with FSU. Clemson’s bench only chipped in 10 points (7 from Curran Scott) compared to 33 for the Seminoles. Jonathan Baehre had a quiet debut going 0-1 with 3 rebounds. After a great start to the game, Al-Amir Dawes scored just 2 points in the second half. Tevin Mack’s 14 points led the Tigers.
Clemson drops to 5-4 and just 1-4 against Power Seven conference opponents (football’s P5 plus the AAC and Big East). The win over TCU remains their lone quality win. They’ve lost to VT, Colorado, Minnesota, and FSU. None of their losses are “bad,” but they can’t continue to sustain losses without some quality wins mixed in.
Next weekend provides one of the biggest games of the year with UofSC coming to Clemson. It is the start of a five game homestand in which the Tigers have a chance to go 4-1 (UofSC, Jacksonville, Yale, Miami, NCSU) and put themselves back in a good spot before the most brutal part of their ACC schedule begins. That game will be on ESPN2 next Sunday at 5pm.