Boston College continually beat the Tigers down the floor for easy layups and shots from within a few feet of the hoop, which allowed them to shoot for a high percentage and attempt nearly nine times as many free throws.
And when it was over, Boston College, which will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, took the 79-70 victory over Clemson Friday night at Conte Forum.
Clemson guard Shawan Robinson took the blame for the Tigers spotty play on offense and defense.
"We just weren't getting back on defense," he said. "I put a lot of it on myself. I didn't play the way I was supposed to. My total game wasn't where it needed to be. I just took us out of the flow of what we needed to do on offense. It was just a bad night."
All game, the Tigers (2-1) had no answer for the physical play of Boston College, as forward Craig Smith had 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds, while forward Jared Dudley added 17 points.
Sharrod Ford led Clemson with 15 points, while Robinson and Cliff Hammonds each scored 12.
What was the sign of how the night went for Clemson came at the free throw line, as the Eagles were 18-of-27 and the Tigers just 2-of-4.
"That really comes from not getting the ball inside as much as we would have liked," said Clemson coach Oliver Purnell. "We just went away from getting the ball inside."
To the Tigers' credit, every time it seemed Boston College (3-0) was ready to put them away, Clemson clawed its way back into contention. The only problem was it could never quite get all the way back.
After a slow start to the second half, Boston College once again got its offense in gear and quickly jumped to a 56-44 advantage with just over 14 minutes remaining in regulation. The lead for the Eagles came after Clemson came out of halftime on fire, scoring on its first five possessions to cut the Eagles' lead to 41-39 with 17:35 left to play.
Just past the midway point of the second half, the Eagles led 62-49 by getting several offensive rebounds. But after regrouping in a timeout, Clemson cut it back to a nine-point Eagles lead, which forced Boston College coach Al Skinner to quickly call a timeout.
But that's when the Eagles regained their big lead by out-sprinting Clemson to the hoop.
The Tigers, however, proved that they are as fast and as quick as anybody around by pestering Boston College and forcing it into committing 22 turnovers.
The problem was the fact that when Clemson didn't force a turnover, it gave up an easy layup.
"I think tonight we played just some of the game and not all of the game," Ford said. "The thing that they killed us with were the fast breaks."
Boston College shot 53.7 percent from the field. Conversely, the Tigers shot 45.6 percent.
"I bet they got eight to 10 baskets off the press and that's a lot," Purnell said. "That helps your offense a lot."
To make matters even worse, Robinson, who entered the game leading the team in scoring at 22 points per game, was held scoreless in the first 20 minutes on 0-for-4 shooting.
Another problem for Clemson offensively as that it only attempted one free throw. The Eagles, on the other hand, was 7-for-9 from the charity stripe.
Leading the way in the first half for the Tigers was Ford, who had 13 points and five rebounds. Smith had 13 points, while Dudley added 11 at the break for Boston College, which led 41-30 at intermission.
Even though the Tigers came out on the short end, Purnell believes in the long run it will do his team good.
"This is a great game to show them on tape what happens when you make mistakes against a good team," Purnell said. "As a coach, you never like to lose, but sometimes they can learn more from it."
The Tigers return to action Wednesday night for a home game against Ohio State, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
|Officials:||Jim Burr, Karl Hess, Michael Kitts|