The Wolfpack shot an incredible 62.8 percent from the game, including 13-of-20 from 3-point range, and N.C. State went on to win 80-70 Saturday afternoon.
The 65 percent shooting from beyond the arc is the best percentage an opposing team has shot from 3-point range ever at Clemson. And no matter what the Tigers tried on defense, it failed.
"The last thing I wrote on the board before we came out was take away the threes," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "And the last thing I wrote at halftime was take away the threes. And obviously we didn't do that."
Clemson now falls to 10-10 overall and 1-7 in the ACC, while the Wolfpack improves to 13-7, 3-4 ACC. The Tigers came into this home stretch needing to win 3-of-5 to make a run at the postseason. Now they need to win three of their next four.
"We've just got to find a way to put everything together," said Clemson guard Cliff Hammonds, who scored 17 points. "It seems like when we play well on offense, our defense isn't as good. And when we play good on defense, we struggle to knock down shots."
At one point in the first half, the Wolfpack drilled 7-of-8 from beyond the arc. At another point in the second half, they hit 6-of-7 from 3-point range, with many of them more than three feet behind the line.
It looked to be just one of those days. The Tigers shot a respectable 45 percent from the field, grabbed 12 more offensive rebounds and committed just 11 turnovers and still lost by 10.
But Purnell doesn't except that answer.
"If you're taking away threes, you make them put the ball on the floor," he said. "Get out on their shoe tops and make them have to dribble. …
"We've got to blame ourselves when we're to blame. We're not defending like we were earlier in the ACC season."
After Clemson grabbed a 46-42 lead to start the second half, the Wolfpack went on a 23-4 run to take a 65-50 lead with 8:02 left to play.
The Tigers mounted a comeback and trimmed the lead to 65-59 with 6:21 to go, but a critical sequence of events with just under three minute to play essentially secured N.C. State's win.
With the Wolfpack with the ball and leading 69-63, Clemson's Olu Babalola blocked Engin Atsur's shot, which caused the ball to bounce around and land in the Wolfpack's Julius Hodge's hands, where he was fouled by Vernon Hamilton with one second remaining on the shot clock.
Hodge went to the free throw line and made his first attempt before missing his second. On that rebound, Clemson guard Shawan Robinson mishandled it and lost the ball out of bounds even though there was no one near him.
N.C. State then promptly hit a 3-point shot to push the lead to 10 and all but end the game.
"I missed timed the jump," said Robinson, who 15 points. "I was worried that someone was coming behind me."
While Clemson was attempting to make their run to tighten the game, it was thwarted by the fact that the Tigers couldn't make a free throw when given the chance. Clemson was just 1-for-8 from the line in the second half and 11-of-21 for the game.
Clemson forward Sharrod Ford struggled the most by going 1-for-8. Ford finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Depending on your point of view, Clemson was either fortunate or unfortunate to be trailing 42-41 at halftime.
The Tigers were fortunate in the sense that N.C. State shot an unbelievable 64 percent from the field, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range.
But at the same time, Clemson was snake bit because it played one of its better halves in a long time by shooting 48.3 percent and hitting 10-of-13 free throws. The Tigers also grabbed seven offensive rebounds, which led to eight points.
Atsur paced the Wolfpack with 21 points, while Hodge added 20 points and had six assists.
Clemson's next chance for a win comes against Maryland Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
|Officials:||Bernard Clinton, Bryan Kersey, Leslie Jones|