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Paws up, paws down: Clemson men’s basketball’s 2022-2023 season

Matt Mynes // Photo Editor

PJ Hall (24) and Hunter Tyson (5) standing for the alma mater after Clemson’s first round NIT loss to Morehead State at Littlejohn Coliseum on March 15. 

Finishing with an overall record of 23-11 and 14-6 in conference play, the Clemson men’s basketball team certainly had a year to remember.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the Tigers’ season:

Paws up: Historic performances in conference play

It was a great season in the ACC for head coach Brad Brownell and his team. 

Clemson came out of the gate strong, holding a 15-3 record to start the season and being ranked as high as No. 19 at one point. The Tigers won their first seven games in conference play, which marked the team’s greatest start in school history. 

The undefeated streak was highlighted by their win against the Duke Blue Devils when the Tigers took them down 72-64 in a sold-out Littlejohn Coliseum.

In an unpredictable ACC this season, Clemson set another school record by winning 14 games in conference play, surpassing the 11 in-conference-win seasons that previously held the record. 

The Tigers also tied a program record with five ACC victories on the road this season, highlighted by a 25-point road victory over NC State. 

The Tigers thrived in the ACC this year, a conference that is notoriously difficult. 

Paws down: Missing the NCAA Tournament 

Despite the record wins in conference play and the resume-building wins, the Tigers’ season will be headlined by missing the NCAA Tournament, being one of the first teams out after the field of 68 was announced. 

There was some dispute over certain teams being over Clemson, such as NC State, when the Tigers took down the Wolfpack three times throughout the season, all in dominant fashion. 

Clemson took down many other tournament teams as well, such as Duke, Pittsburgh and Penn State.

Whether considered a “snub” or not, the exclusion could potentially headline Clemson’s impressive season when looking back. 

Paws down: Bad losses to beatable opponents

Despite the incredible start, the Tigers struggled against teams with poor records, giving them a worse resume when it came to the NCAA Tournament at the end of the season. 

Clemson’s first loss of the season was a close 60-58 loss to rival South Carolina, which finished the year 11-21. A few games later, the team was dominated by Loyola Chicago, who held a 10-21 record this season.

The most impactful loss of the year came late in the season when the Tigers fell to the Louisville Cardinals by 10, giving the Cardinals their fourth and final win of the year.

A Clemson win would have resulted in a higher seed in the ACC Tournament, a share of the regular season title and would have greatly improved chances at a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

Paws up: Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall

One of the biggest stories of Clemson’s season was their dominant frontcourt duo of senior forward Hunter Tyson and junior center PJ Hall.

It was a season to remember for Tyson, who averaged 15.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, landing a spot on the All-ACC first team, the first Tiger to do so since the 2015-2016 season.

Hall added 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as well, being named to the All-ACC third team at the end of the season.  

Paws up: Promising future 

Despite players like Tyson and guard Brevin Galloway leaving at the end of the season, Clemson will return some key pieces to try to continue success next season. 

Most notably, PJ Hall has a chance to return to the Tigers next season. Despite a report that the star center will test the NBA draft waters, Hall could maintain his college eligibility, making a potential return to Littlejohn possible.

Guards Chase Hunter and Alex Hemenway can return to Clemson, providing an experienced backcourt. The two will be joined by Dillon Hunter, who will look to continue to grow after a great freshman season. 

Forward Ian Schieffelin will be returning for his junior season as well. Schieffelin had many great performances down the stretch and looks to continue that form into next season. 

Brownell also emphasized that he would explore the transfer portal, already adding Air Force guard Jake Heidbreder to his backcourt. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.1 points in his sophomore season with the Falcons, shooting 39.9% from 3-point range. 

With Heidbreder, the returning playmakers and new faces from the transfer window potentially approaching, the Clemson men’s basketball team has plenty to be excited about when looking at next season.

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Griffin Barfield
Griffin Barfield, Asst. Sports Editor
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