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Clemson men’s basketball comes up short against FSU

The Clemson Tigers (14-14, 4-12) dropped yet another close game, a theme of their season, falling to the Florida State Seminoles (23-6, 11-5) 76-74 on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 25).

A far cry from the 48-point beatdown issued by the ‘Noles when the Tigers visited Tallahassee earlier this season, today’s clash was a back-and-forth affair that featured plenty of offensive excitement from both teams. Each half saw FSU outscore Clemson by a margin of 38-37, leaving the Tigers to ponder what could have been in a pivotal game teeming with postseason implications.

Clemson’s Marcquise Reed, the hot shot guard known for hitting clutch shots, missed an open two-point jumper – a game-tying bucket – from the top of the key in the game’s waning seconds, sending the Tigers to their third straight loss.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FSU’s leading scorer on the day with 15 points, hit what was ultimately the game-winning layup with 1:17 remaining. Clemson was unable to capitalize on a few different scoring opportunities thereafter, missing three jumpers in the final minute.

Despite a huge game by senior forward Jaron Blossomgame who scored 24 points, hauled in eight rebounds and went 7-7 at the free throw line, the Tigers were unable to win what would have been a critical victory in their hunt for an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. Aside from turning the ball over four times, point guard Shelton Mitchell was solid, contributing 15 points. Also, center Sidy Djitte played arguably his best game of the season, with 12 points and nine rebounds to show for it. More importantly, Djitte’s defense was exceptional, as he forced Florida State big man Michael Ojo into foul trouble early with his tenacious play on the defensive end.

The charity stripe played a major role in the matchup, with the Seminoles shooting 28 free throws and the Tigers shooting 32. Evenly matched, the teams were hardly ever more than a few points away from each other on the scoreboard.

Fitting with the recent trend, however, the Tigers came up short and will look to get back on track in another home game on Wednesday night, March 1, with the North Carolina State Wolfpack (15-15, 4-13) coming to town for an ACC clash.

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