PJ Hall returned to top form with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double to lift Clemson to an opening-round win over NC State in the ACC Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
Nick Honor added 13 points, including a 6-point spurt midway through the second half to help the Tigers open up a double-digit lead over the Wolfpack. Clemson was able to keep NC State at arm’s length from there, ultimately earning a 70-64 win to advance to the tournament’s second round.
The Tigers took a 14-12 lead on a 3-pointer by Al-Amir Dawes and maintained a narrow lead before scoring the final two baskets of the first half to take a 29-24 lead into the break.
A layup by Breon Pass with 12:15 remaining cut the Clemson lead to 39-36, but Hall made a jumper and Honor followed it up with back-to-back threes in transition to push the margin to 11.
NC State wouldn’t go away, however, trimming the deficit to five with 1:15 left on a layup by Jaylon Gibson. But Hall buried two free throws on the next possession and followed it up with a blocked shot to seal the deal in the final minute for Clemson.
Dereon Seabron led the way for the Wolfpack with 19 points and 12 rebounds, but the Tigers held him to 5-of-16 shooting from the field. Jericole Hellems scored 13 points but made only 3 of his 13 field-goal attempts. NC State shot just 35 percent from the field as a team and 17 from 3-point range.
Dawes shook off a cold start to chip in 12 points off the bench for the Tigers, and David Collins pulled down 10 rebounds to help Clemson out-rebound the bigger Wolfpack lineup.
Clemson will face Virginia Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m.