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Paws up, paws down: Tigers fall short in thriller against Virginia

William Stehn
Clemson center PJ Hall brought the Tigers within one point against Virginia on Saturday thanks to his 3-for-3 free throw performance in the final minutes of the game.

Clemson couldn’t come away with a comeback victory against Virginia on Saturday, falling to the Cavaliers 66-65.

The Tigers, now 14-7 (4-6 ACC), had plenty of opportunities late in the game. But as time expired, Virginia watched in anticipation as Jack Clark’s potential game-winner deflected off the rim, securing the Cavaliers’ win.

Below are a few takeaways from the game:

Paws down: Early offensive miscues

Clemson struggled to get points on the board early on. As a team, the Tigers shot just 31% from the field in the first 15 minutes and, in the same period, combined for three turnovers, leading to Virginia points. When added together, these missteps forced Clemson into an early 11-point deficit.

In the final five minutes of the first half, Clemson began to find its groove, going on an 8-0 run. Virginia responded as time expired when Jacob Groves hit his third 3-pointer of the day, bringing the Cavaliers’ halftime lead back to 8.

Paws up: PJ Hall’s second-half surge

Virginia’s defense was all over the Clemson star early, allowing Hall only 2 points in the first half. However, Hall put together a much-needed second-half performance, scoring 17 points in the latter 30 minutes.

Even though the Tigers ultimately fell short, Hall came through in the clutch when given the opportunity. With just under seven minutes remaining, Hall followed up Joseph Girard III’s clutch 3-pointer with a three of his own to give Clemson its first lead in the second half.

As the game was winding down with under a minute to play, Hall drew a foul on a shot attempt from beyond the arc, granting him three free throws. He proceeded to hit all three, leaving Clemson down by one point and placing the Tigers within game-winning shot territory.

Paws down: Comeback falls short

Clemson’s grit was on display as they fought to the bitter end. Despite a rocky start, the Tigers remained in the game and gave themselves an opportunity to win, though Virginia edged them out by the slightest margin.

Although they were playing from behind for the majority of the game, the Tigers stayed motivated during the entire matchup.

“I thought two teams just fought hard. Scoring was hard to come by,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “Proud of my guys. I just thought we played very hard.”

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About the Contributors
Tyler Skorski, Senior Reporter
William Stehn, Asst. Photo Editor
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