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Clemson falls in second round of ACC tournament

Toby Corriston
Center PJ Hall leaves the court after losing to Boston College in the second round of the ACC tournament at Capital One Arena on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

WASHINGTON D.C. – In a lackluster atmosphere, the Clemson men’s basketball team failed to match even the subdued energy of the crowd, leading to a 76-55 loss to Boston College in the second round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday.

Despite averaging 36.7 rebounds per game and out-rebounding opponents by three, the Tigers (21-11, 11-10 ACC) were dominated on the boards. Boston College out-rebounded Clemson 43 to 27—a deficit of 16 rebounds.

“I thought there were a lot of long rebounds in the first half, and I’m disappointed in our guards. We talk about it a lot, that our guards have to get more involved on the defensive boards where there’s long rebounds like that,” head coach Brad Brownell said.

Starting the second half, the Tigers trailed the Eagles by 12 points, the largest halftime deficit the team faced this season.

“We just weren’t quite ready. Ultimately, that’s on me,” Brownell said. “We haven’t behind a lot this year, and we panicked a little bit.”

Boston College (19-14, 9-12 ACC) came out of the gates hot, and Clemson had no answer for the duo of Claudell Harris Jr. and Jaeden Zackery, who combined for 49 points and 12 rebounds.

“They’re going to play desperate, and they’re going to play really hard,” Brownell said of Boston College. “And for whatever reason, our guys just didn’t respond as well as we normally do.”

To try and ignite a response, Brownell turned to his bench to light a fire in the team. However, he could hardly find a spark, as the bench combined for seven points in nearly 50 minutes on the court.

RJ Godfrey was the closest thing to a flicker, contributing three points, five rebounds, and an assist.

“I thought RJ was very productive for us, proud of him. But tonight, we didn’t have an answer.” Brownell said.

PJ Hall put up 21 points in the game but was stifled everywhere else on the court, managing just one rebound and no assists.

Joseph Girard III was the only other Tiger in double digits, tallying 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds and two assists.

“Joe got us going. He was making shots early. PJ made shots late. But beyond that, we couldn’t find anybody else to score.” Brownell said.

Chase Hunter was ice cold on the night, going 0-for-10 from the field, with his only two points coming from free throws. Ian Schieffelin also struggled, managing six boards and five points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Clemson shot 35.2% from the field (19-54) tonight and 20% from three-point range (4-20). Meanwhile, Boston College only shot 40.2% overall but were 10-of-29 from beyond the arc. They were also perfect from the line, going 16-for-16.

Looking ahead, a silver lining from this game for Clemson is that the Tigers have an entire week to regroup and rest before the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The team will learn its seed and first-round matchup this Sunday at 6 p.m. during the CBS Selection Sunday show.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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