Clemson 74- BC 70
BC was unable to harness any momentum from their near upset in Virginia and came out flat tonight against the #25 Clemson Tigers. The defense looked disorganized and gave Clemson uncontested layups and open 3s early. The Tigers took the early lead and pushed it to as much as 19 in the first half. Jim Christian cycled through his forwards with Steffon Mitchell, Nik Popovic, Johncarlos Reyes, and Luka Kraljevic splitting time early on. The bigs all had difficulty with rim protection and were outrebounded 20 to 10 in the first half. Points off rebounds offensive rebounds were a big issue for the Eagles; they gave up 7 second chance points off 5 offensive rebounds in the first half. The offense, meanwhile, struggled mightily. Turnovers prevented any sort of momentum for BC as the Tigers went on an 18-2 run beginning midway through the first. In between turnovers, BC struggled to get open shots during offensive possessions. Robinson and Chatman, after playing the entire half, combined to go 1 for 6 in the half. Despite a 7-point run to end the half, the Eagles entered halftime behind 38-25.
The second half story could not have been more different for the Eagles. Jerome Robinson was dazzling, knocking down five 3’s and racking up 21 points in the first 10 minutes of the half. Popovic’s woes continued as his layup was blocked by Elijah Thomas on the first offensive possession of the half, and he was quickly returned to the bench after sailing a pass over an open Jerome Robinson’s head in the corner. Luka Kraljevic seized his opportunity and was able to really shine off the bench. He sank back-to-back, smooth baseline jumpers and hit the floor to regain possession on a Clemson steal during a run that brought BC back within 6 halfway through the second period. Ky Bowman and Steffon Mitchell were aggressive on the boards and wound up with 9 rebounds each. Each time BC pulled within one possession, Clemson was able to answer with a big shot. Donte Grantham was 2-3 from 3 in the second half, and his second one stretched the Clemson lead to 9 at the 6 minute mark. Still, BC clawed back with clutch play down the stretch from Bowman (19 points, 5-5 FT) and Robinson (28 points, 6-9 3FG).
With 1:15 to go, BC found themselves with the ball and down 2. With Robinson drawing tons of attention. Bowman drove to the hoop and drew a foul. His two free throws tied it at 68. Marcquise Reed answered with two free throws in the next possession and Robinson finally missed a 3 that would have given BC the lead. His foul gave Gabe Devoe the chance to sink two free throws and put Clemson up 4 with 20 seconds left. Popovic tipped in a Bowman layup and Christian called timeout with 15 seconds. Clemson, unfortunately, executed perfectly in the final possessions. They were able to break the trap, force BC to foul, and combined to go 6-6 in their free throws in the final 48 seconds. After storming all the way back to make it a ball game, BC dropped another heartbreaker to fall to 1-2 in the ACC. They will face Wake Forest on Saturday at 4PM in Conte Forum in what is beginning to look like a must win game.