Although NCSU gave the Tigers a scare, they didn’t have the juice to overcome the Clemson defense as the game wore on. Despite trailing for a majority of the game, Clemson held NCSU without a field goal over the final seven-plus minutes of regulation. This allowed them to climb out a five-point hole and force overtime.
It may have been a late defensive surge that helped Clemson close the game, but they wouldn’t have been in the position to capitalize without the strong play of transfer Nick Honor, who drained a transition triple off the feed from Aamir Simms to tie the game at 62 in the final minute of regulation. He played arguably his best game in a Tiger’s uniform, scoring 21 points on 8/11 from the field and 5/6 from deep. Simms however was not so effective, scoring only one field goal in regulation.
Once OT started, the Tigers’ talent shone through and they were able to close out the win. Trailing 67-66, in the pivotal moments of OT, the Tigers defense forced an errant pass from Wolfpack senior Devon Daniels which Ammir Simms quickly capitalized to give Clemson the lead. The very next possession: rinse, repeat, poor pass and turvover by Daniels, transition bucket from Simms. He finished the game with 9 points, 7 boards and 4 assists.
To close out the win, Nick honor hit a beautiful lefty-floater in the lane after a ball screen from Simms and freshman PJ Hall delivered the final blow, a bouncing hook shot over NCSU’s best defender Manny Bates. The ball bounced off the rim and through the net to put Clemson up 4 with just 10 seconds left in the game. Comeback win complete. Let’s hope this is the first of many clutch moments for the 4-star frosh.
Up next for the Tigers is a Saturday date with a UNC squad that, while not as talented as some recent years, can still push Clemson. They’re 2-2 in ACC play and coming off of wins against Notre Dame & Miami. Look for them to come out hungry and hard to avoid falling into a deeper hole in the ACC rankings. If the Tigers win again, expect them to continue to rise in the Top 25.