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Clemson men’s basketball falls to Virginia Tech 71-70

The Tigers lost to the Hokies last night (Feb. 21) at Cassell Coliseum in a tight match where no team led by more than seven points. This was the seventh loss for Clemson (14-13 (4-11 ACC)) in the new year by a margin of six points or less, and the third by just one point – two of those being to Virginia Tech (19-8 (8-7 ACC)). To say Virginia Tech (VT) is the go-to victor head-to-head against the Tigers would clearly be contestable.
Both teams played commendably, garnering only 13 personal fouls apiece, showing the depth of their rosters and shooting commendably beyond the three-point line – Clemson going 9-17 (52.9 percent), VT going 12-22 (54.5 percent). Regarding the depth, four Tigers scored 12 points or more on the night, led by Marcquise Reed’s 18 points, while four Hokies scored 10 points or more, led by Zach LeDay’s 19 points. Yes, the Hokies beat the Tigers by one point (again) and LeDay one-upped Reed.
Blossomgame, who had the most time on the court, had an uncharacteristically poor performance, going 4-15 in FGs (26.7 percent) to the rest of the team’s (meaning without including his stats) 22-48 (45.8 percent). This was far below his season average of 49.3 percent, according to the Clemson Combined Team Statistics. Gabe DeVoe was also in an offensive rut, going 0-7 overall and 0-4 from beyond the three-point line, an anomaly from his season averages of 38.7 percent FG completion and 33.0 percent 3FG completion.
It was only due to the Tigers’ depth, players like Reed, Shelton Mitchell with 14 points and Elijah Thomas with 12 points, that they were within sight of the win. VT’s victory came down to the wire – Seth Allen scored the game-winning three with 3.8 seconds left. When breaking down the scores, the Hokies only led in three-pointers: Clemson tied them in FGs with 26 and had two more fouls shots, nine to their seven. The faults of DeVoe and Blossomgame were acutely present on the court and the scoreboard, but the team did a great job of filling in the gaps.
For VT, Justin Bibbs got his 12 points solely from threes, going 4-7 (57.1 percent), and also had five assists – more than any Tiger. LeDay went 7-15 (46.7 percent) in FGs and 4-5 (80 percent) from the free-throw line. Justin Robinson led the game with eight assists and also put up 10 points for VT. Ahmed Hill was the most accurate shooter of the night, going 5-6 (83.3 percent) in FGs and 2-2 beyond the three-point line.
The Tigers will regain their home-field advantage after their tough beat, playing the Florida State (22-6 (10-5 ACC)) Seminoles this Saturday, Feb. 25. The Tigers will be looking to avenge the 109-61 loss from earlier this month, with tipoff set for noon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

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