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Clemson Outlasts Wofford Despite Terriers’ Second Half Push

PJ Hall led the Tigers to an eight point halftime lead, but the Wofford Terriers wouldn’t fold and gave Clemson all they could handle.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rutgers at Clemson Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start in their season opener against Presbyterian, Clemson stormed out of the gates versus the Wofford Terriers. The Tigers held a 7-point lead after five minutes. The advantage grew to 14 (24-10) with just over 8 minutes remaining in the first half.

PJ Hall was outstanding for Clemson in the opening half scoring 16 of Tigers’ 39 points including three 3-pointers. He also pulled in 5 rebounds. Despite that, the Terriers battled back late in the half and kept themselves in the game. The teams went into the halftime intermission with the Tigers leading 39-31.

Clemson led by 9 at the 17:23 mark, but the momentum shifted when PJ Hall collected his third personal foul on a double-technical and headed to the bench. The Terriers started a rapid comeback that wasn’t quelled when Hall re-entered to stop the bleeding a few minutes later. Over the next five minutes, Wofford went on a 16-4 run and took a 52-49 with 12:01 remaining.

It was Clemson’s turn to respond to adversity and they did just that. Nick Honor immediately knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 52. That was countered by a Wofford 3-ball, but lay-ups by Tyson and Honor gave Clemson the lead back as the teams traded blows.

With 1:32 remaining, PJ Hall made 1-2 free throws to put Clemson up by three. That was immediately followed by Wofford getting fouled and making both to trim Clemson’s lead to just one point. On the ensuing possession, an admittedly soft foul call sent Hall to the line again where he knocked down both shots to put Clemson back up three.

Wofford had a chance to tie the game on their next possession, but missed a corner 3-pointer. Clemson got the rebound with 0:47 remaining. After burning about 20 seconds of clock, Nick Honor began to run the offense, but the ball was stolen away. Wofford guard Keaton Turner lost control and it bounced right to Al-Amir Dawes. Dawes grabbed it, took a step back, and fired an open 3-pointer. It swished through the net and served as the game’s dagger.

Wofford called a timeout, but now down 6 points with 0:19 to go, it was all but over. They turned the ball over on an offensive foul, and Clemson added an exclamation point with a fast break slam dunk by David Collins to win with the same 8-point margin they had at halftime, 76-68.

It was an exciting battle between the two upstate teams and could end up being a a solid resume win for the Tigers. PJ Hall led all players with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Al-Amir Dawes scored 13 while Hunter Tyson added 12. Nick Honor played well in the second half and ended with 11 points and an impressive 5 steals. Naz Bohannon added 7 rebounds coming off the bench.

The Tigers have a short turnaround for their game on Monday against Bryant. After that, the competition level takes a step up as they head to Charleston for the Charleston Classic where they start vs. Temple. The tournament field includes several tough potential opponents: St. Bonaventure, West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Marquette.