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Clemson suffers first loss of year in thriller against Memphis

Clemson+head+coach+Brad+Brownell+and+the+Tigers+suffered+their+first+loss+of+the+2023-2024+season+on+Saturday%2C+falling+to+Memphis+on+the+road.
Ashleigh Snyder
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers suffered their first loss of the 2023-2024 season on Saturday, falling to Memphis on the road.

Clemson’s undefeated start to the year came to an end on Saturday when the Tigers fell to Memphis in a tight match, losing in the final seconds by a score of 79-77.

Turnovers have been a struggle for Clemson, and they were its downfall in the loss. Despite having seven in the first half, the Tigers held a 39-32 lead going into halftime. Clemson’s turnover woes only grew worse, as the team gave up eight more, including a few critical giveaways with less than five minutes left that ultimately helped Memphis take the lead late. From there, Clemson’s fouls and inconsistent interior defense allowed Memphis to hold the lead and come away with the win.

Clemson (9-1) came within one point multiple times late but failed to regain the lead, committing multiple fouls and allowing inside scoring from Memphis. Down by three, guard Chase Hunter was sent to the free-throw line with 1.3 seconds left. Hunter made the first and attempted to rebound the second, but Memphis recovered the ball and ended the game.

Clemson center PJ Hall and forward Chauncey Wiggins combined for 40 points for the Tigers, with 21 and 19, respectively. Nonetheless, the Tigers’ top scorers could not make up for the team-wide mistakes on the day.

Memphis guard David Jones led his team with 22 points, nine of which came from the charity stripe.

With nine total lead changes, it was back and forth the entire game. Clemson started off the match with an 11-2 run, which Memphis responded to with a lengthy run itself.

In the first half, Clemson was strong from beyond the arc, making nearly half of its deep shots. Meanwhile, Memphis kept up with its mid-range and inside scoring, especially off of crucial turnovers and second-chance opportunities.

Memphis (8-2) continued to force many turnovers and score off of them, getting nearly a quarter of its second-half points off of turnovers. Both teams struggled to shoot from deep in the second half, converting only two three-pointers each. Memphis’ transition defense and consistent paint-scoring helped them take the lead with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Clemson heads back home to face Queens on Friday, Dec. 22, at 6:00 p.m., as the Tigers hope to rebound from their first loss of the season.

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Samuel Walters, Senior Reporter
Ashleigh Snyder, Photo Editor
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