Clemson doesn’t boast a high-powered offense and BC added Jordan Chatman to the injured list today; it looked to be a low scoring affair at Littlejohn Coliseum. After allowing a few open cuts to the basket, the Eagle defense settled in during the first half. Luka Kraljevic and Johncarlos Reyes got extended rotation minutes with Nik Popovic picking up two early fouls and both took advantage of the opportunity with good interior defense and rebounding. Transition defense was a big weakness for the Eagles in the first half, allowing Marquiese Reed to pull up for open threes to get himself going. Reed had three triples and 17 points in the first half.
Scoring was a struggle for the Eagles against a strong defensive team and without Jordan Chatman. When Popovic went to the bench after nine minutes in the first half, it became clear that the Eagles did not have a second scoring option that they had confidence in and the Tiger defense swarmed Ky Bowman, triple teaming him on every drive. Bowman would end up 1-7 in the half after managing to shake free for a three. The Eagles did find offense in some unexpected places. Steffon Mitchell hit a pair of jump shots, Reyes scored twice in the paint, and Jairus Hamilton had 6 first half points on some good moves to the basket. All things considered, the Eagles were happy to be right there after the first half in a 33-29 Clemson lead.
The Popovic-Bowman offensive combo was immediately effective to start the second half, forcing the Tigers to call a quick timeout after a 5-0 run regained the lead for BC. Jairus Hamilton added some impressive passing to his offensive contributions, feeding Popovic down low. Ky Bowman lit up from behind the arc for with three quick threes.
The Eagles and Tigers traded leads for much of the second half until the Clemson defense clamped down to spark a 7-0 lead around the nine-minute mark. Jairus Hamilton staunched the Tiger run with a steal and pair of free throws with just under eight minutes on the clock, but Popovic picked his fourth foul on the other end. Cristian sat Popovic and went small, and the Tigers attacked the inside and pushed the lead up to 8. Jairus Hamilton kept the Eagles in the game with Bowman getting locked down and Popovic on the bench, scoring 8 points to draw the Eagles even at 60 with 4:00 to play.
Clemson was able to lock down the Eagles in the final minutes. Popovic reentered the game and quickly fouled out. The three-guard lineup struggled to create offense, and Clemson converted BC misses and turnovers to extend the lead to 10. They would end up with the 76-66 win and retain the 9th-place spot in the ACC standings. Jairus Hamilton was the silver lining for BC in the loss. He appears to be coming into his own after a slow start to his freshman season, and today had 6 rebounds and 2 assists to go with his 17 points. The Eagles will take on #18 Louisville at home on Wednesday night.