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Fighting Irish outshoot Tigers: Men’s basketball loses to Notre Dame 89-83

Landry Nnoko got his 200th career block, the sixth Clemson player to do so.
Savannah N. Miller, Photo Editor
Landry Nnoko got his 200th career block, the sixth Clemson player to do so.

It came as no surprise on Monday night that the matchup between the Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish featured an abundance

of scoring. 

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the home team in Monday night’s contest, they came up just short. The Fighting Irish edged the Tigers 89-83 in a game which saw both teams shoot over 50 percent from the field and narrowly avoid doing the same from beyond the three point arc.

Speaking after the game, Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell coyly described the loss to reporters, saying, “We got into a shootout tonight with a team with a bigger gun and more bullets.” 

While a hilarious metaphor, it has some truth to it. 

Coming into the game, the Irish boasted one of the most efficient offenses in the country and were a matchup nightmare for the Tigers. Electrifying point guard Demetrius Jackson and hybrid forward V.J. Beachem were fantastic for the Irish, and big man Zach Auguste was virtually unstoppable down low, scoring 19 points and hauling in eight rebounds.

As for Clemson, forward Jaron Blossomgame continued his torrential scoring streak, accruing a career-high 30 points in the night. Fellow Clemson forward Donte Grantham had a strong game as well, scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. 

However, Clemson could not take advantage of the spectacular offensive turnout, as it never held a lead over Notre Dame. Down 13 points with 90 seconds to play, the Fighting Irish appeared to have the game in hand, but a late Clemson scoring barrage made the situation interesting. Due, like the preceding portion of the game, Notre Dame was able to keep Clemson at bay.

Notre Dame’s offense won by spreading the ball around and being efficient throughout. Auguste echoed that sentiment with his postgame remarks, telling the media, “We are a very unselfish team. Our offense is great when it is flowing.” 

Coming off of a major primetime victory over the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday, a letdown in a road game a mere two days later would have been understandable. But the Irish played phenomenal basketball from start to finish on Monday night.

Clemson has now lost two straight games and appears to have lost all of its momentum from the remarkable stretch of January victories that propelled Clemson into NCAA Tournament discussions. The loss to the Fighting Irish dropped the Tigers to 14-10 overall and 7-5 in conference play. 

As for Notre Dame, it moved to 17-7 on the season and 8-4 in the Atlantic

Coast Conference. 

The Tigers, who are eighth in the conference standings, will look to rebound at home against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday. 

At this point in the season that game is, without a doubt, a must-win for Clemson, and the Tigers assuredly know just that.

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