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Harper, Rutgers drop Clemson in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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The Tigers struggled to shoot the ball and couldn’t pick up a win on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Harper Jr. scored 23 points to lead Rutgers to a 74-64 win over Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night.

The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, but the Tigers worked their way back to take a 22-20 lead on a layup by PJ Hall with 4:40 left in the first half. Rutgers, however, closed the half on 13-3 run to take an eight-point lead in to the intermission.

Rutgers maintained its edge until back-to-back threes from Al-Amir Dawes and a runout layup by Chase Hunter sliced the deficit to 45-44 with 12 minutes to play. Clemson had multiple opportunities to take the lead but couldn’t capitalize, and a subsequent 8-2 Rutgers run spearheaded by two Harper 3-pointers stretched the lead back out and allowed the Knights to navigate the rest of the game en route to the win.

The Tigers entered the game third in the nation in 3-point shooting but made just 4 of their 18 attempts. They were better from inside the arc but still missed numerous layups and open jumpers that could have combatted some of Rutgers’ uncharacteristic shot-making.

David Collins led the way for Clemson with 18 points and 10 rebounds. PJ Hall missed a significant portion of the game due to foul trouble, contributing to the Tigers’ offensive woes. He scored 10 points but needed 13 shots to do so. Hunter Tyson added 10 points but was just 2 of 9 from the field.

Nick Honor and Al-Amir Dawes combined for just 13 points and seemed bothered by Rutgers big, physical guards. Clemson will need more from its starting backcourt moving forward if it wants to turn things around.

The Tigers travel to Miami on Saturday for an early conference battle.