A career-high scoring performance from Marcquise Reed (31 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals on 5-7 shooting from three-point range) helped the Clemson Tigers (16-11, 6-8 ACC) end their three-game losing streak with a victory over Boston College (13-13, 4-10 ACC). The Tigers won 76-66, using a 10-0 run to extend the lead to 70-60 with 1:43 to go in the game and iced the game with a few free throws down the stretch. This is Clemson’s first win since their upset over Virginia Tech nearly two weeks ago after two near misses against Miami and Louisville and a sound beating at the hands of Florida State. Reed didn’t drag the Tigers to victory alone. He got some help from fellow starters Eli Thomas (14 points, 10 rebounds, only 1 foul), Shelton Mitchell (13 points), and Aamir Simms (10 points).
The victory for Clemson keeps their slim chances of making the NCAA tournament alive. Winning the ACC Tournament would put them in as an automatic bid, but don’t hold your breath, Tiger fans. Winning the ACC Tournament is something that’s never been done in the history of Clemson Men’s basketball. Instead, they’ll need to continue winning by locking up no fewer than three of their four remaining regular season games and probably at least two victories in the ACC Tournament to give themselves a strong chance to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid on Selection Sunday, March 17th.
The first half saw some hot shooting from the bigs for the Boston College Eagles and guards for Clemson. Marcquise Reed’s 17 first half points on 7/11 shooting included three of four from three-point range and three steals. He led the Tigers into the half with a 33-29 halftime lead. Nik Popovich, Jairus Hamilton and Steffon Mitchell played well for the Eagles, combining for 17 points between them and hitting several contested mid-range jumpers while leading scorer, Ky Bowman, was held in check through a diverse defensive effort headlined by a great play from John Newman III and contributions from David Skara and Marcquise Reed. Bowman was held to just 1-7 shooting and 3 points in the first period. Beyond the strong defense, the difference maker for the Tigers in the first half was undoubtedly their hot shooting from long range. They were 5/8 from three-point distance in the half compared to Boston College’s 2/8 from three.
Despite a strong showing from Ky Bowman in the second half (17 points in the game) and a career-high in scoring with 17 from Boston College freshman Jairus Hamilton, the Clemson Tigers prevailed against Boston College. The second half saw Marcquise Reed’s fantastic night continue. He ended the night shooting 5 for 7 from three-point range and made a number of aggressive plays on defense that led to steals and fast break buckets for Clemson. He made one such steal with 1:43 to go in the game and got fouled on the layup attempt. He surpassed his previous career high (30 points against Georgia Tech on January 16th) by hitting both free throws and all but sealing the victory.
This win is no more than the Tigers taking care of business. It is a game they were expected to win and one that could only really hurt their chances to make the tournament with a loss. Now that they’ve secured victory, they’ll need to move on and prepare for a road trip against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The matchup with the Panthers is followed by Clemson’s last chance to steal a marquee win against a ranked opponent in the regular season when they host the UNC Tar Heels on March 2nd. A win in that game would make an at-large bid a possibility and would give the Tigers a chance to end the regular season on a spectacular note.