Clemson basketball is rolling. PJ Hall returned from a foot injury and the Tigers won their fourth consecutive game.
Clemson erased a 3-point halftime deficit and built a 3-point lead of their own after a Hunter Tyson mid-range floater with just over 20 seconds left in the game. With the Hokies down by three, they attempted a contested 3-pointer. It missed, but they corralled the offensive rebound and Nahiem Alleyne got a wide open 3-point look. Fortunately for Clemson, he missed. The Tigers took possession and Chase Hunter made a clutch free throw, his only point in the game, to seal the victory.
PJ Hall led Clemson in scoring with 12 points despite playing just 14 minutes due to foul trouble. Alex Hemenway added 11 points on perfect 4-4 shooting. David Collins and Al-Amir Dawes each scored 10. Freshman big man Ian Schiefflin contributed 10 good minutes collecting 4 assists, 4 rounds, and 4 points continuing his strong finish to the season.
Aside from the win over Wake Forest, this was likely Clemson’s strongest victory on the year. Virginia Tech is a bubble team. They likely were on the right side of the bubble coming into Clemson — they were 9-1 in their past 10 games — but perhaps the wrong side of it now sitting at 11-9 and 7th in a weak ACC.
For Clemson, this win streak is a little to late. This four-game win streak follows a six-game losing streak that killed any fleeting NCAA tournament hopes and likely any NIT hopes too. Nonetheless, it is encouraging for next season to see this team make some strides.
The Tigers finish the regular season above .500 at 16-15 (8-12). As the No. 10 seed in the ACC tournament, they will have to play on Tuesday against the No. 15 seed. Fortunately, it will be against a hated-rival having an awful season, the NC State Wolfpack. NCSU went just 4-16 in ACC play and lost to to Clemson by 5 in Raleigh earlier this year. Of course, that means little in postseason college basketball. Clemson will need to make a very deep run in the ACC tournament to have a shot at the NIT, but a strong finish will give them much needed momentum into the off-season before a make-or-break 2022-23 season!