Tigers Thow Another One Away

The Clemson Tigers fell to the Virginia Cavaliers, 83-79 in the 8-vs-9 game of the ACC tournament Thursday night in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Freshman Vernon Hamilton led the Tigers with 19 points. Todd Billet led UVA with 20 points, Elton Brown added 19, and J.R. Reynolds and Devin Smith each hit key 3-pointers in the extra period for the 8th-seeded Cavaliers.

Virginia swept the season series, but the Cavaliers couldn't keep the Tigers from outrebounding them for the third straight meeting. The Tigers had a 42-32 edge, including 14-6 on the offensive boards, and scored 15 second-chance points.

Virginia rallied late in regulation, erasing an 8-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime. Once there, Reynolds and Smith came through.

With his team trailing 71-69, Smith grabbed an offensive rebound of a miss by Brown. He passed to Reynolds, who knocked down the straightaway 3 to put the Cavaliers ahead to stay with 1:42 left.

On the next possession, Smith took a pass from Billet and hit a 3 from the left wing for a 75-71 lead with 57 seconds left.

Virginia also turned up the defensive pressure late, forcing three straight turnovers to set up those 3s.

The Tigers had a chance to tie it. After Smith's free throw pushed the lead to 81-78 with 6.8 seconds left, Hamilton was sent to the line with 2.9 seconds to play. He made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, but Reynolds came down with the rebound.

Reynolds added two free throws to seal it with 2.4 seconds left.

With the loss, Clemson ends the first year of the Oliver Purnell era at 10-18.

Clemson (10-18): Hamilton 6-10 4-6 19, Ford 2-5 8-12 12, Babalola 2-11 5-8 9, Robinson 4-8 4-4 14, Akingbala 3-5 0-0 6, Rice 4-9 3-3 11, Christie 2-6 0-0 4, Hudson 0-1 0-0 0, Hobbs 1-4 2-2 4. Totals 24-59 26-35 79.

Virginia (17-11): Reynolds 5-9 5-5 18, Bannister 0-4 3-4 3, Billet 4-12 10-12 20, Clark 1-2 0-0 2, Brown 7-11 5-8 19, Byars 2-4 0-0 5, Mapp 0-0 0-0 0, Forbes 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 4-12 4-6 14, Minter 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-56 27-35 83.

Halftime — Clemson 35-29. End of regulation — Tied at 68. 3-Point goals — Clemson 5-18 (Hamilton 3-4, Robinson 2-4, Rice 0-3, Christie 0-3, Babalola 0-4), Virginia 8-19 (Reynolds 3-5, Smith 2-5, Billet 2-7, Byars 1-1, Bannister 0-1). Fouled out — Robinson, Hobbs, Clark. Rebounds — Clemson 42 (Ford, Babalola 9), Virginia 32 (Billet 7). Assists — Clemson 11 (Akingbala, Christie 3), Virginia 16 (Bannister 6). Total fouls — Clemson 29, Virginia 27. A — 17,211.

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