|Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 9:30 AM- -|
What started so good, finished so bad.
Clemson lost to SMU 65-59 in the semifinals of the NIT Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden.
Clemson got off to a blistering start and lit it up from the field in the first half. Demarcus Harrison's three-pointer at the end of the first stanza gave the Tigers a 12-point lead.
Everything was working in the first half.
Rod HallRod Hall
#4 6-1, 210
View Full Profile was terrific from three and also drove the ball well. Harrison was once again awesome with his stroke. Jordan RoperJordan Roper
#20 5-11, 165
View Full Profile was on the mark as well.
As good as the Tigers were in the first half, they were that bad in the second half. A couple of things contributed to that. First, you have to give Larry Brown and SMU a lot of credit. Their defense was fantastic in the second half. Second, the Mustangs played with more energy than Clemson. SMU simply played harder and outscored Clemson 39-21 in the second half.
Late in the contest after falling behind, the Tigers turned the ball over and also had some bad shot selections.
Part of the problem throughout the game was defending SMU point guard Nic Moore. He was outstanding in his penetration and his decisions. The sophomore was a major part of SMU's comeback.
Clemson was balanced in scoring with Hall having 18 to lead four Tigers in double figures, including
K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
#32 6-6, 200
View Full Profile with 11 and Harrison and Landry NnokoLandry Nnoko
#35 6-10, 245
View Full Profile with 10 each. However, Clemson got only three points off of its bench.
SMU controlled the boards and out-rebounded Clemson 35-25.
The Mustangs' momentum proved to be too much for the Tigers when they had to mount their comeback. Clemson had too many empty possessions in the second half.
If this was McDaniels' final game as a Tiger, it was not his best. SMU did a terrific job of keeping him off of the rim for most of the game and held him to 4-11 from the field.
A loss Tuesday night should not take away from a very good season that ended with a very good NIT run. This team will carry a lot of momentum into the off-season. In April we will find out of McDaniels will return. Every other Tiger is set to return next season, plus the staff is looking forward to getting
Patrick RooksPatrick Rooks
#4 6-2, 185
View Full Profile off of his medical hardship season and the additions of DeVoe and Grantham as true freshmen.
The hope is we will be able to look back at this season as the turning point of the
Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
View Full Profile era. The feeling around the program is about as positive as it has been since the night Oliver Purnell left for DePaul.
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