The Tigers, trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half, trimmed the lead to just two with 13.3 seconds remaining in the game. And after a quick foul on a made basket, Virginia's J.R. Reynolds missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Clemson one last opportunity to steal an ACC game on the road.
But Sharrod Ford missed a wide-open three pointer as time expired, and the Tigers were left on the wrong end of a two-point margin once again. For the second time in the last seven days, the Tigers lost in Virginia, this time by a score of 81-79.
"After that last Virginia Tech game on the road, we've played some good basketball, but we have to have something to show for it," said head coach Oliver Purnell afterwards.
Olu Babalola led the Tigers in scoring with 22 points. He also added seven boards and five assists.
"Olu has been playing well of late," added Purnell. "We played well enough to win tonight. If we make a few more of those layups, or make that last shot, then we are singing a different tune."
Senior forward Devin Smith led the Cavs in scoring with 22.
The game itself was an up-and-down affair throughout, as both teams shot better than 50% in the first half. Virginia led 41-36 at halftime and moved ahead by 10 points at 54-44 shortly after intermission.
"Our defense wasn't quite as good tonight. They seemed to get a lot of easy shots on us," said Purnell. "And then they hit some big threes late."
The Tigers methodically chipped away at the Cavaliers' second half lead, before Ford's final attempt to win the game fell off the rim as time expired.
With the loss, Clemson falls to 10-8 on the year and 1-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers have now lost four consecutive games to Virginia since sweeping the season series in 2003.
Clemson returns to action Wednesday night against the surprising Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables, FL. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM.
Shawan Robinson came off the bench and responded well, scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting...The Tigers connected on their first five three-point attempts of the game...Sharrod Ford didn't make a field goal until the opening minutes of the second half...Virginia connected on 57% (32-of-56) of its field goals for the game...The Tigers made a season high 13 three-pointers Saturday night.
|Officials:||Allen Spainhour, Reggie Cofer, William Bush|