Tigers Stunned by Virginia

The Clemson Tigers rallied for what looked like would be their 11th win of the season at Littlejohn Coliseum, but Virginia's Todd Billet had other plans. The senior guard drained a long range bomb with time winding down to help lift the Cavs to an improbable 3-point win.

It was game that could have been won.

It was a game that should have been won.

But it wasn't.

Todd Billet converted a three-point bomb with just over 10 seconds left in the game to propel the Virginia Cavaliers past the Clemson Tigers, 58-55.

Olu Babalola led the Tigers in scoring and on the boards with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

Clemson started the game off slowly, scoring just 2 points in the first 6 minutes of the first half, but Virginia wasn't much better. The Cavs shot 29.6% and were out rebounded 29-12, falling behind 28-20.

But it wouldn't last.

Virginia opened the second half with a 14-2 run to pull ahead 34-30. Senior guard Todd Billet drilled two threes and J.R. Reynolds added another triple to help spark the Cavs to the quick 4-point lead.

UVA would maintain that slim margin using a 2-3 zone and more timely shooting by Billet.

In fact, the Tigers wouldn't regain the lead until the 6-minute mark when Chris Hobbs followed a miss by Sharrod Ford to put Clemson up 45-44.

Shawan Robinson then took over, scoring 2 big baskets down the stretch to turn a 50-50 tie, into a 54-51 lead with just 1:29 left in the game.

Following a shot clock violation by Clemson, the Cavs Jason Clark put back a miss by Reynolds to pull Virginia within 1.

It was then, after Robinson converted one of two free throws, that Billet gave Virginia the win with a deep three pointer.

Chey Christie then turned the ball over on the ensuing possesion and Billet converted an easy lay-up to provide the final margin of victory.

"We didn't end the game very well," said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell after the game. "Our defense and fundamentals weren't there. We rebounded well, but we gave up some offensive rebounds in key situations late in the game."

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 10-14 overall, and 3-10 in the ACC. Clemson hits the road for their next game Tuesday evening against Maryland. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM at the Comcast Center.

Other Notes
* Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips spent several minutes in the student section wearing a longhaired orange wig and President Barker emerged after halftime wearing the Tiger outfit before being introduced by the PA announcer.

* Vernon Hamilton went down with what appeared to be a knee injury after scoring 5 quick points with 12:34 left in the first half. The injury was minor in nature as he returned to action just over 3 minutes later.

The Tigers fell to 30-20 overall in the series against Virginia in Clemson and 19-17 in games played at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Virginia (14-10): Reynolds 2-10 0-0 6, Clark 3-4 1-2 7, Brown 3-11 1-5 7, Bannister 2-5 4-4 8, Billet 8-13 0-1 21, Byars 1-2 0-0 2, Forbes 0-4 0-0 0, Cain 0-0 0-0 0, Minter 3-7 1-1 7. Totals 22-56 7-13 58.

Clemson (10-14): Ford 1-5 2-3 4, Babalola 5-11 8-10 19, Akingbala 1-4 0-0 2, Christie 4-11 0-1 9, Robinson 4-11 1-2 10, Rice 1-6 0-0 2, Hamilton 2-3 0-2 5, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Hobbs 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 20-59 11-18 55.

Halftime — Clemson 28-20. 3-Point goals — Virginia 7-17 (Billet 5-9, Reynolds 2-6, Bannister 0-1, Forbes 0-1), Clemson 4-15 (Hamilton 1-1, Babalola 1-4, Christie 1-4, Robinson 1-5, Rice 0-1). Fouled out — Bannister. Rebounds — Virginia 31 (Clark, Brown 5), Clemson 47 (Babalola 9). Assists — Virginia 11 (Billet 5), Clemson 9 (Babalola 3). Total fouls — Virginia 22, Clemson 16. A — 8,900.

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