Clemson loses to Alabama in heartbreaker 51-50


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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Alabama forward Shannon Hale stole an inbounds pass and dunked the ball on the other end with 25 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 51-50 win over Clemson on Sunday in Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Tigers fell to 6-3 overall with the loss, while the Crimson Tide improved to 6-2.

"Well, extremely disappointing way to lose a game, with a ‘pick six’ there at the end of the game," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. "In the end of it all, we didn’t play well enough to win tonight, defensively we were a little slow early and I thought Alabama got a lot of open shots, we were slow to the ball, they had a lot of long rebounds off of missed threes. They weren’t shots that landed around the rim but balls that went out around the free throw line, 12 to 15 feet away, and I just thought we didn’t get to enough of those."

Alabama came out blazing hot, making six of its first seven shots in building a 16-7 lead. Clemson cut into it with a pair of fastbreak scores, including a highlight-reel dunk in transition by Jaron
Blossomgame. The lead reached double digits at 30-19 after some easy backdoor scores. Clemson went scoreless for nearly four minutes until Avry Holmes broke it with a couple of free throws.

Holmes continued to provide a spark when he rolled in a three-point play that cut the deficit to four. Clemson held ‘Bama off the scoreboard for over four minutes, but a -17 rebound disadvantage
was a backbreaker in the opening 20 minutes as the Tide took a 34-26 lead into the locker room.

Landry Nnoko made his first seven shots - including his first four after intermission - the third of which pulled the Tigers within four at 45-41. Jordan Roper followed with a soft jumper to make
it a two-point game. Alabama had plenty of second chances off missed shots, but could not connect. Donte Grantham shrugged off a tough shooting night with a three-point goal from the top of the key with 2:16 to go. But he was guilty of the turnover on the
possession that led to Hale’s dunk. It was Alabama’s only field goal inside the final 8:46 of the game.

Nnoko led the Tigers with 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Holmes added 11, while Blossomgame and Grantham posted eight apiece. Clemson shot just 37.5 percent, but held Alabama to 34 percent
shooting even after the hot start. The Tide owned the glass Sunday, winning the rebound margin 44-30.

The Tigers return to action in less than 48 hours. Clemson and Presbyterian College meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

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