Reed scores 24 as Tigers advance in NIT with win over Wright St.
Reed scores two of his game-high 24 points (Photo by Josh Kelly)

Reed scores 24 as Tigers advance in NIT with win over Wright St.

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Survive and advance.

Marcquise Reed scored 24 points and Clemson overcame a determined effort by Wright St. to win Tuesday night’s first-round NIT matchup in Littlejohn Coliseum by a 75-69 score.

The Tigers will face the winner of Wednesday’s first-round game between No. 3 Furman and No. 6 Wichita St. The time and date have not been announced.

Eljiah Thomas added 16 points, David Skara added 15 points and Clyde Trapp scored 10 as four Tigers scored in double figures. Starting point guard Shelton Mitchell (knee) did not play. Trapp scored eight of his 10 points during a critical second-half stretch, while Thomas scored 12 second-half points.

Clemson improves to 20-13 with the win, while Wright St.’s season ends with a 21-14 record.

The Tigers jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the game’s first six minutes. Reed scored six of the game’s first eight points as Clemson led 8-2, and then Clyde Trapp and John Newman hit 3-pointers as the Tigers took the 14-point lead.

Wright St. came roaring back, however. Clemson led 27-18 at the 8:18 mark and then went into one of its patented scoring droughts. The Tigers went over six minutes without a point and the Huskies went on a 15-2 run to take a 33-29 lead with just over a minute left on the halftime clock.

Reed drove the lane to end the scoring drought and make it 33-31, then hit a step-back jumper outside the lane with seconds left and the teams were tied at 33-33 at intermission.

The Tigers grabbed a brief lead coming out of the break, but Wright St. continued to fight and a layup at the 13:55 mark gave the Raiders their biggest lead of the night at 47-41. Needing a spark, Trapp hit a runner in the lane, Reed hit two free throws and Skara splashed a three from the corner as Clemson took a 48-47 lead.

Cole Gentry of Wright St. answered with a 3-pointer of his own to put the Raiders back ahead at 50-48, but Reed hit a long-range shot from the top of the key that put the Tigers back on top at 51-50 with 11:50 to play in the game. Wright St.’s Skyelar Potter was called for a flagrant foul on Thomas, who hit one of the free throws for a 52-50 lead. Thomas then hit with a short hook from the left of the glass for a 54-50 Tiger lead.

The teams then traded baskets over the next several minutes, and Wright St. led 62-60 when Reed was fouled on a 3-pointer. He hit all three free throws and Trapp followed that with a deep three that put Clemson ahead 66-62 with 3:18 to play.

The Raiders hit a 3-pointer of their own and stole the ball from Reed off a rebound to pull within 68-67, and then the teams traded layups before Thomas hit two free throws that gave Clemson the 72-69 lead with just over a minute remaining.

Wright St. promptly missed two free throws with 46 seconds remaining and Reed’s runner in the lane with 18 seconds remaining bounced off the rim. However, Newman was fouled on the play. He hit one of his free throws but the Tigers held off the Raiders for the win.

The game featured a number of experimental rules, including the 3-point line being extended to FIBA international rules (22 feet, 1.75 inches), the free throw lane being widened to 16 feet (NBA rules), shot clock resets to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound and team fouls resetting at 10-minute mark of each half (one-and-one free throws eliminated).

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