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Tigers come up short in narrow loss to Virginia

William Stehn
Clemson forward Jack Clark drives to the basket against Virginia in Littlejohn Coliseum on Feb. 3, 2024.

Clemson’s 138th meeting with the Virginia Cavaliers was as close of a game as possible, ending with the Tigers’ third loss at home this season by a score of 66-65.

Toward the end of a hard-fought two halves, The Tigers chipped away at their deficit and took their only lead late in the second half, 57-56, thanks to four threes from Joseph Girard III, including one that tied the game and one that gave Clemson the lead.

The Tigers found themselves down by one with seven seconds left. With the game on the line, Clemson forward Jack Clark attempted a deep 3-pointer that missed off the back on the rim, leaving the Tigers with their second one-point defeat in three games.

Clark’s missed game-winning shot came after the Tigers (14-7, 4-6 ACC) started slowly against the Cavaliers. Midway through the first half, Clemson was losing the rebounding battle, shooting just 20% from the three and 33% from the field.

Virginia capitalized on these early opportunities, taking the lead and going on multiple runs, with its largest advantage of the day being 12 points up as they headed into halftime, 38-26.

In an otherwise disappointing game, the Tigers found success in transitioning and creating chaos for Virginia’s defense. They controlled the pace on both sides of the ball and pushed them out of their slow, controlled-set offense.

Clemson center PJ Hall had an off day, going 4 of 16 from the field and 1 of 6 from beyond the arc. He still led the team with 19 points and knocked down 10 of his 12 free throws. Three of these attempts put the Tigers within one heading into their final possession of the game.

“Just keep chopping wood,” Hall said after the loss. “There’s no reason to give in, as much as we work every day and as much as we care about this team.”

Looking ahead, the Tigers will travel to Chapel Hill on Tuesday to take on No. 3 North Carolina at 7 p.m.

“It’s about time to flip the script. After a loss like this, we’ll be ready,” Hall added.

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About the Contributors
Malone Kinard-Huisinger
Malone Kinard-Huisinger, Senior Reporter
William Stehn
William Stehn, Asst. Photo Editor
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