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Schieffelin comes up big in Sweet 16 win over Arizona

Toby Corriston
Clemson forward Ian Schieffelin scored 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field in the Tigers’ 77-72 win over Arizona in the Sweet 16 on March 28, 2024.

The Tigers have been on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this postseason, reaching the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2018. However, they wanted more, and to get more required facing a top college basketball team on Thursday.

For a chance to reach the Elite Eight, Clemson faced off against the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats, headed by center Oumar Ballo and star guard Caleb Love. The Wildcats had easily stormed through their previous two tournament matchups and hoped to do the same.

Clemson came into the game hot and consistently held the lead throughout the entire game, only losing the lead once before gaining it again. Foul trouble plagued the Tigers, but besides that struggle, the team showed the consistency and swagger needed to take down the Wildcats in a 77-72 win.

Many players had prominent roles in winning the game for the Tigers and sending them to the Elite Eight for the first time in 44 years, but one player stood out: forward Ian Schieffelin.

The junior helped boost Clemson with his consistency and big play. He even went so far as to mention a connection between his play and former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant when asked about having the “Mamba Mentality” against the Wildcats.

“Shoutout to my brother. He’s a big Kobe Bryant guy. I guess you could say that,” Schieffelin said.

“Please do not compare yourself to Kobe Bryant,” head coach Brad Brownell responded, jokingly, to his forward’s comment.

“RJ Godfrey calls me Kevin Durant sometimes. So I don’t think that’s much closer. It was good to get going early,” Schieffelin added.

Schieffelin started the game hot, scoring seven points a little over 10 minutes into the game. Throughout the matchup, he continued to be dominant, scoring 14 on the night while adding three assists. He made one of his biggest shots late in the second half when he found some help from the backboard to bank in his second 3-pointer on the night.

“I thought it was going to hit the back of the rim,” he said of the shot. “That’s March for you. Shots like that are going to go in. I did not call bank. Either way, it counts. I’ll take it.”

It was not just his scoring that made the biggest difference on Thursday; it was also his rebounding. With seven critical rebounds, he helped even out the rebounds that the Wildcats were finding offensively and kept the Tigers in the game defensively.

The Tigers will face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Elite Eight on Saturday at 8:49 p.m. ET at the Arena in Los Angeles.

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About the Contributors
William Stehn
William Stehn, Asst. Photo Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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