The Clemson Tigers knocked off the Alabama Crimson Tide 64-56 in a tightly contested game in the Pitt Boss Grills Hoopsgiving Tournament.
Clemson was forced to go to the bench early after Aamir Simms picked up two fouls in the first 4 minutes of the first half. Even without their senior talisman, the Tigers built a steady lead throughout the half on the back of their stifling defense. Clemson, with the help of a few open misses, was able to totally shut Alabama down from outside the arc. The run and gun Tide put up a goose egg from deep in the First Half. Hunter Tyson, in particular, helped Clemson survive a half of basketball without Simms. He contributed 9 points off the bench before taking an inadvertent flying knee to the bridge of the nose that put him on the bench for the rest of the game. The end of the half gave Clemson fans a glimpse into the future with P.J. at center and Olivier-Maxence Prosper at power forward. Clemson managed to take a 4 point lead into the locker room.
Aamir Simms returned to action in the second half, but wasn’t able to get going, and was plagued by turnovers. With Simms struggling the Tigers found points in unexpected places. Prosper returned to the floor in the second half and scored a quick 5 points with a made 3 and an offensive rebound that led to an easy put back to give Clemson a 47- 38 lead with 11:46 remaining in the game. Two Nick Honor jumpers stretched the lead to 51-39. The Tigers looked like they were going to put the game away midway through the 2nd half, but Alabama ignited from deep, hitting 2 consecutive 3’s and 3 free throws after Dawes fouled John Petty Jr. behind the arc. After Dawes and Jahvon Quinerly traded made 3 pointers, Alabama pieced together a 4 point run to take their first lead of the second half, 54-55, with 6:10 remaining in the game. Alabama’s lead was short lived. Dawes cut back door for an easy layup on a beautiful Simms assist on a well designed Brad Brownell play coming out of a timeout, and Clemson would never look back. They finished the game on a 12-1 run, with Jonathan Baehre scoring the last 6 points of the game to put it out of reach.
Clemson moves to 5-0 on the season, and has the best overall resume in college basketball with wins over Purdue, Mississippi State, Maryland, and Alabama. Expect a ranked Tiger squad when the polls are released next week. Clemson is scheduled to head to Blacksburg to take on the 15th ranked, 4-1 Hokies to open the ACC slate on Tuesday.