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Girard drives Clemson past Organe in return to Syracuse

Toby Corriston
Clemson guard Joe Girard III (11) drives past North Carolina defender Cormac Ryan (3) in Clemson’s win over No. 3 North Carolina on Feb. 7 at the Dean E. Smith Center.

The Clemson men’s basketball team defeated the Syracuse Orange 77-68 at the JMA Wireless Dome in Syracuse, New York, on Saturday afternoon.

With 18 points on the day, Clemson guard Joseph Girard III, who spent four years at Syracuse, reached 2,000 career points, making four of his five 3-pointers. Girard didn’t hold back against his former team, whom we played for from 2019-2022, averaging 13.1 points across his tenure there.

With the help of Girard’s performance, the Tigers defeated the Orange. But not without struggles.

After taking a large lead in the first half, Syracuse pulled back and tied the game at 68 apiece late with help from forward Chris Bell and guard Judah Mintz. Nevertheless, Clemson’s defense stepped up late and helped secure the win.

After Syracuse a burst of momentum early from Syracuse, the Tigers struck back for the rest of the first half. Clemson went on an 18-4 run in the middle of the first half, overcoming its 11 turnovers before halftime. Two deep shots from Girard and great paint play by center PJ Hall led the Tigers to their 37-24 lead going into the break.

Continual Clemson turnovers cut the Tigers’ lead to six points with 12 minutes left in the game. Girard continued to shine against his former team, shooting perfectly and nailing another crucial three-pointer late.

Clemson forward Ian Schieffelin dominated the late game, hitting a 3-pointer and sinking a layup with less than two minutes left in the match to put the Tigers up eight. Forced to foul, Girard was sent to the line twice, where he made all four shots to put the nail in the coffin.

The Tigers head back home to take on the Miami Hurricanes at Littlejohn Coliseum in a Valentine’s Day special on Feb. 14 at 7:00 p.m.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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