Reed and the seniors lead Tigers past Syracuse to improve NCAA hopes


by - Staff Writer -
Reed and Mitchell battle for a loose ball in the first half (Photo by Josh Kelly, USAT)
Reed and Mitchell battle for a loose ball in the first half (Photo by Josh Kelly, USAT)

CLEMSON – The seniors led the way on Senior Day.

Marcquise Reed scored 24 points and led a strong second-half senior-led effort as Clemson kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a 67-55 victory over Syracuse in Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Elijah Thomas added 13 points and 11 rebounds while Shelton Mitchell added 10 as the only other players in double figures. Reed scored 20 of his 24 points in the seecond half, inclduing 8-8 from the free throw line. Aamir Sims' five points were the only points scored in the second half by a non senior.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak to Syracuse. Clemson improves to 19-12 overall and finishes the regular season with a 9-9 league record. Syracuse falls to 19-12 overall and 10-8 in the ACC.

Syracuse committed 21 fouls and the Tigers were 24-30 (80 percent) from the free throw line. The Orange had 18 turnovers (Clemson had 15), and Clemson out-rebounded Syracuse 45-30, including 18-6 on the offensive end.

"I thought the difference in the second half was that we just didn't rebound," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. "We got some defensive stops, and we had position and still didn't get the ball. The 15-rebound differential was the difference in the game. We had a bigger lineup and they had a smaller lineup and we still didn't get the ball. We had some really bad turnovers, so that and rebounding was the story of the game."

Reed said he knew at halftime that it was his time to shine.

"I knew we had 20 more minutes and that this was an important game for us," Reed said. "I just wanted to leave it all on the floor. We had a good conversation in the locker room and guys were locked in when we came out for the second half. We got in transition and that started opening it up a little bit, and we started hitting a few 3-pointers."

The Tigers started 0-for-13 from the field, but Syracuse wasn’t much better going 2-of-6 and leading 4-0 with 15:47 to play in the first half. Elijah Thomas finally broke through with back-to-back layups to tie the game at 4-4.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle scored five straight to open up a 9-4 lead, but Clemson’s Javan White and Hunter Tyson kept it a one-point game at 11-10 with 10:41 to play in the opening half.

The Orange went on a 13-3 run over the next three minutes to open up a 23-13 lead with 6:48 to go before intermission.

Shelton Mitchell nailed a three, setting off a series of three made baskets by the Tigers cutting Syracuse’s lead 27-22 with 2:19 to play in the half.

Syracuse scored four points, including a Buddy Boeheim driving layup with 14 seconds to play in the half to take a 31-24 lead to the locker room.

Aamir Simms opened the second half with a three-pointer, sparking a 7-3 run that saw Marcqiuse Reed hit a three and Elijah Thomas a free throw to close the gap 34-31, Syracuse with 11:34 to play.

Syracuse extended its lead back to five at 38-33 with 15:53 to play, but Reed started to heat up hitting a jumper in the lane and three from left wing to tie the game at 38-38 with 14:26 to play.

Clemson reeled off an 11-0 run to open up a 46-38 lead with 11:27 to play. Oshae Brissett hit a three from the top of the key setting off a 6-2 Syracuse run in under a minute to cut Clemson’s lead to 49-47 with 8:58 to play.

Syracuse would go almost six minutes without a field goal allowing Clemson to go on a 17-6 run of its own to open up its largest lead of the game at 67-53 with 2:36 to play. The run saw Reed score 10 straight points.

The win counts as a Quadrant 2 win for the Tigers.

The quadrant system is broken down into four sections, with the top two quadrants having the most importance. Quadrant one wins are those home games vs. teams RPI ranked 1-30, neutral games vs. 1-50, and away games vs. 1–75. For example, a home win against a top 30 team would qualify as a quadrant one victory.

A Quadrant 2 win are those at home against the RPI 31–75, neutral 51–100, and away victories over the RPI 76–135.

Clemson will play NC State Wednesday at noon in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte.


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