The Clemson Tigers suffered their first loss of the season Friday afternoon to the No. 22 ranked St. Bonaventure Bonnies, 68-65. The Tigers could not stop the 3-point shooting of the Bonnies as they shot a miraculous 10-12 from deep in the second half, out scoring Clemson, 42-29.
The Tigers got off to a scorching hot start, going on an 11-2 run out of the gate. Nick Honor and David Collins were leading the charge, both offensively and defensively in the early going. Midway through the second half, Clemson had held St. Bonaventure to just 11 points.
Both teams started trading buckets at the tail end of the first. You could see the Bonnie’s offense slowly but surely see the Bonnie start to heat up. Dominick Welch made two consecutive 3-pointers to end the half to cut the lead to 10 and bring the loud Bonnie faithful to life.
The momentum from the end of the first carried over into the second half for St. Bonaventure. Slowly chipping away at the Tiger lead, with both great defense and excellent outside shooting, the Bonnies went on a 13-0 run to take the lead halfway though the second half. Clemson went almost seven minutes without scoring a bucket during that span.
Clemson was able to tie things up with just under two minutes remaining, but that was quickly erased by a Kyle Lofton 3-pointer seconds later. The Tigers couldn’t recover as Lofton ended up icing the game at the foul line with 0:19 on the clock.
Lofton was a man on a mission this afternoon. 22 points, four rebounds, four assists. However, it was is 3-point shooting that propelled his Bonnies to victory, making four out of his five attempts.
As a team, St. Bonaventure shot over 58% from behind the arc, connecting on 14 of their 24 threes. They were also a perfect 8-8 at the foul line.
For the Tigers, this wasn’t a bad outing, they were simply outplayed and overmatched by an experienced St. Bonaventure squad. When it came down to crunch time, the Bonnies showed why they are a nationally ranked team.
Despite the loss, PJ Hall looked fantastic en route to scoring 22 points, along with eight rebounds, two assists, and three blocked shots. Hall also was 3-5 from deep, knocking down some huge threes to keep the Tigers competitive down the stretch.
Al-Amir Dawes didn’t have his touch this afternoon. His first poor performance of the season, ending the game with just six points. A lot of tunnel vision in the half court set and forced shots led him to go 2-11 from the field. Both of his makes were 3-pointers.
Clemson having just three bench points was a major problem this afternoon. Middlebrooks, Bohannon, and Hunter were all absent from the scoresheet. The Tigers were also 50% from the foul line, missing four out of eight attempts in a three point loss.
Next up for the Tigers will be the loser of either Marquette or West Virginia, as they are set to tip-off tonight. That game will be played on Sunday at approximately 5 pm.