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Girard shines in return to Syracuse as Clemson outlasts Orange 77-68

The Tigers pulled away down the stretch to grab their second big road win of the week.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph Girard III assured everyone that his return trip to his four-year home at Syracuse in a Clemson uniform would be all business.

He meant it.

Girard scored 18 points on just six field-goal attempts, drilling four of his five 3-pointers, and led the Tigers to a 77-68 win over the Orange to follow up their signature road win over North Carolina earlier this week.

PJ Hall added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Ian Schieffelin chipped 13 points including a clutch 3-pointer that put Clemson up by 67-60 with less than two minutes to play. Syracuse was able to trim the lead to five points on a Chris Bell 3-pointer but could never get closer than that, as the Tigers converted free throws and layups down the stretch to close out the game.

The game was tight early with Clemson holding a 13-12 advantage, but the Tigers put together a 14-0 run to stretch their lead to 27-12 at the under-8 timeout. They maintained a double-digit margin for the remainder of the first half, with Chase Hunter dropping in a layup as time expired to give them a 37-24 lead heading into the break.

Syracuse made its expected run early and closed the gap to 39-34 just three minutes into the second half, fueled by Clemson turnovers — a common theme in the game. The Tigers, however, kept the Orange at arm’s length throughout most of the half.

But Syracuse would not go away, and JJ Starling tied the game at 60 with a jumper with 3:37 remaining.

Clemson answered with back-to-back buckets from Hall and Chase Hunter, setting the stage for Schieffelin’s devestating three.

Hunter scored 14 points and added 7 assists, and Jack Clark added 10 rebounds as the Tigers out-rebounded the Orange 41-24.

Clemson shot an incredibly efficient 60 percent from the field but was hamstrung by an inexplicable 21 turnovers that allowed Syracuse to hang around.

Starling and Chris Bell led the Orange with 16 points apiece, with Judah Mintz adding 14 and Quadir Copeland chipping in 13 off the bench.

Clemson hosts Miami on Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.