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Clemson falls to Notre Dame in South Bend

Toby Corriston
Clemson center PJ Hall helps defend the ball in Littlejohn Coliseum.

Despite keeping the game within a few baskets for the majority of the game, the Clemson men’s basketball team couldn’t find enough success shooting the ball Saturday night, falling to Notre Dame 69-62 in South Bend, Indiana.

The Tigers (20-9, 10-8 ACC) had no response to the underclassmen duo of Markus Burton and Tae Davis, who combined for 39 points. Burton dominated the first half, scoring 17 of his 21 points before halftime. Davis picked up where Burton left off in the second half, adding all 18 of his points after the break.

Clemson’s shooting struggled once again down the stretch of a close game, managing just three field goals, one of which was a late dunk by Chauncey Wiggins in garbage time, in the final three minutes and 25 seconds of the second half.

The Tigers’ 3-point shooting was problematic, as the team shot 5-for-28, with PJ Hall especially struggling. Despite being efficient in the paint, Hall often settled for outside shots, finishing 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. While he still managed to score 21 points and grab seven rebounds, Hall’s head coach was disappointed with some of the team’s shot selection against the Irish (12-17, 7-11 ACC).

“Our practices are not very good right now,” head coach Brad Brownell said after the game. “They’re extremely limited, and when they’re limited, you’re not going to be as effective. I’m disappointed. We have some older players, we got out of who we are a little bit at times and tried to shoot our way out of some things and took a few bad ones.”

The absence of Jack Clark, who was out due to illness, left a defensive and rebounding void for Clemson. Although Ian Schieffelin stepped up with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, the Tigers sorely missed their starting small forward.

Chauncey Wiggins stepped into the starting role amid Clark’s absence and contributed 12 points, three rebounds and two assists. Nonetheless, he didn’t have the same defensive impact Clark has had in past games.

Clemson guard Joeseph Girard III didn’t get on the scoreboard until there were 15 minutes left in the game, but still shared the team-high in threes with Hall, going 2-for-8. He finished with 11 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Clemson, who has been vying for a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, now finds itself tied with Syracuse, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh for the fourth seed, which guarantees the double-bye.

The Tigers still control their own destiny, holding the tiebreaker over Pitt. If Clemson defeats Syracuse and Wake Forest in the final two games of the regular season, the Tigers will secure a double-bye.

Clemson will return home on Tuesday, March 5, for senior night, facing off against Syracuse. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum, with the game airing on ESPN2.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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