Clemson falls to #18 Virginia


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CLEMSON, S.C. — London Perrantes scored 25 points for No. 18 Virginia as the Cavaliers handed Clemson its fourth straight loss, 77-73. The Tigers fell to 11-6 on the season, 1-4 in the ACC. UVa improved to 13-3 overall, 3-2 in league play.

Clemson’s point total was the second-highest of the season against Virginia, who came in with the nation’s stingiest scoring defense at 52 points per game. But hot shooting throughout the contest propelled Tony Bennett’s team. The Cavs were 29-50 in the game, 58 percent. Perrantes hit four critical three-pointers and scored 14 of his 25 in the second half, when a capacity Littlejohn Coliseum crowd could never truly get into it.

Jaron Blossomgame was once again brilliant, compiling his fourth straight game with at least 20 points. It was his third straight in the series with UVa as well. He finished with a team-high 22 points, hitting 10 of 14 field goal attempts. The Tigers shot well, converting half of their 56 field goals. Gabe DeVoe and Avry Holmes both contributed 15 to the Tiger cause.

Holmes got the Tigers off to a good start, accounting for a 6-0 run by himself from tipoff. He hit three free throws and followed with an old fashioned three-point play. But Virginia crept right back in it, thanks to efficient shooting. The Cavs shot 56 percent in the opening frame, and took their first lead of the contest at 25-24 on two Perrantes free throws. The Tigers fell behind 34-29 with 2:22 to go in the first half, but finished with a flurry. Shelton Mitchell hit a desperation three, and the building came to life in the final minutes as Blossomgame threw down an alley-oop and Holmes tied the score at 36 with a steal and layup to beat the halftime buzzer.

UVa seized control early to start the second half, taking a 47-41 lead just four and a half minutes in to force a timeout by Brad Brownell. The Cavs extended the lead to as many as nine at 60-51, but Clemson answered with a pair of buckets. The Tigers fought valiantly to tie the game at 70 on a three-point play from Blossomgame. But Perrantes answered in resounding fashion, closing out the Tigers with two gut-wrenching shots to win it. Clemson had a couple of good looks from three in transition late, but could not connect.

The Tigers return Thursday, Jan. 19 to take on Louisville at 9 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.

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