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Balanced effort helps Clemson outlast Virginia Tech

The Tigers picked up a big road win in Blacksburg to move to 4-0 in the ACC.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech
Hunter Tyson shook off a rough first half and led Clemson to a win over the Hokies.
Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a career game, Hunter Tyson wasn’t going to let a slow start dictate his entire night. The Clemson forward shook off a 1-for-8 first-half shooting effort and made three 3-pointers in the second half to help Clemson overtake Virginia Tech and hold on for an important road win.

Tyson registered his third straight double-double and eighth of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and four other Tigers scored in double figures in a 68-65 road win that pushed Clemson to 4-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1997.

The Tigers made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 26 seconds, and a Sean Pedulla 3-pointer was off the mark on Virginia Tech’s final possession with the Hokies trailing by three.

Clemson controlled the game early in the first half and took a 19-11 lead on the strength of a 7-point spurt off the bench by freshman RJ Godfrey. The Tigers held a 29-23 advantage after a Josh Beadle layup but went scoreless over the final minutes of the half, enabling the Hokies to surge into the lead with a 9-0 closing run.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair until Clemson took a 57-49 lead on a Tyson 3-pointer with 8:50 to play, but Virginia Tech again forged a 9-0 run to seize a 1-point lead. Clemson scored six straight, however, punctuated by a Chase Hunter steal and dunk that put the Tigers ahead 63-58 with 2:27 remaining.

The Hokies trimmed the deficit to just one point in the final minute, but Clemson’s free-throw shooting helped stave off the comeback.

PJ Hall bounced back nicely from a poor showing against NC State and added 13 points of his own, while Hunter and Brevin Galloway chipped in 12 and 11, respectively.

Godfrey provided a huge boost with 10 points and six rebounds and is quickly becoming an important part of the Clemson rotation.

The Tigers shot 39 percent from three and 83 percent from the free-throw line to carry them on an otherwise subpar offensive night. They held a normally potent Virginia Tech offense to just 31 percent from the field.

Clemson faces another tough road test on Saturday when it travels to Pittsburgh.