Storm the Court: Dawes' buzzer beater leads Clemson to win over No. 6 FSU


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson players and fans celebrate after win over FSU   (Photo: Josh Kelly / USATODAY)
Clemson players and fans celebrate after win over FSU (Photo: Josh Kelly / USATODAY)

CLEMSON – Another court-storming opportunity for Clemson basketball fans.

Al-Amir Dawes raced the length of the court and hit a layup with just one second remaining to lift Clemson to a 70-69 victory over No. 6 Florida St. Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Seminoles had taken a 69-68 lead with just nine seconds left after a bizarre inadvertent whistle, but Dawes dribbled into the lane and threw up a shot that bounced off the glass and off the rim before falling into the basket.

Clemson now has three Top-6 wins this season with the victory over FSU and earlier wins over Duke and Louisville, the top three teams in the league this season. The Tigers also have the program’s first-ever win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Clemson is also 13-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points.

Clemson improves to 15-13 overall and 9-9 in ACC play. FSU falls to 24-5 overall and 14-4 in the league.

Dawes and John Newman each scored 18 points to lead Clemson, while Tevin Mack added nine and Clyde Trapp added eight.

"We played really well. Defensively, in the second half, I thought we were very good and fought very hard," head coach Brad Brownell said. "In the first part of the game, we had trouble guarding [Florida State]. Offensively, we did about as well as we could against them. We mixed in some things that we're comfortable with. Al-Amir [Dawes] was terrific at different parts of the game. On the play at the end of the game, we just decided to let him go and see what would happen. I was just screaming to go to the basket, and he went in there and made an unbelievable play. I'm extremely proud of our guys."

Dawes said he just wanted to make a play for his team.

“It was a heart-beating moment," Dawes said. "Our coach was like, 'If they score the last shot, let’s focus on getting the ball out and making a play for the team.' So, in my head, I was just going to get it and go, and the outcome would be the outcome. And that’s what happened."

The Tigers took the Seminoles’ best shot in the first half. FSU hit three 3-pointers in the first three minutes and took an early 11-5 lead. Hunter Tyson hit a 3-pointer and Simms hit a layup and Clemson eventually moved to within one at 13-12. It was a pattern repeated throughout the half – FSU would take a big lead and the Tigers would claw back.

Late in the half FSU held a 39-30 lead and threatened to blow it open, but the Tigers got a layup from Dawes at the 1:16 mark and trailed just 39-32 at intermission. The Seminoles hit 10 of their first 11 shots from the floor and shot 16-26 (61.5 percent) in the half. That included 5-12 from 3-point range and 11-14 from 2-point range.

FSU nailed a 3-pointer for a 42-32 lead right out of the half, but the Tigers promptly went on a 10-1 run. Alex Hemenway splashed a trifecta from the corner to make it 43-40 and following a missed shot John Newman took the ball coast to coast and dunked over two FSU defenders to make it 43-42. As Newman let go of the rim, he screamed to the rafters and Littlejohn went wild, forcing a Seminole timeout.

Two minutes of frantic basketball and one FSU free throw later, Newman once again drove the court for two points to tie the score at 44-44 at the 14:12 mark. Less than a minute and one more FSU free throw later Newman did it again, this time going behind his back with the dribble and off the glass for Clemson’s first lead at 46-45.

The teams traded baskets for two minutes but FSU went on a run that pushed their lead to 56-51. However, Khavon Moore hit back-to-back layups and the Tigers hit a free throw to tie the score at 56-56 with just 4:54 to play.

FSU twice pushed the lead back to three points, but Newman hit two free throws to make it 63-62, and then Tevin Mack came off a screen to nail a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Clemson ahead 65-63 with just 1:53 on the game clock. Trent Forrest hit two free throws to tie the score at 65-65, but Newman hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to put Clemson back in front at 67-65 with just under a minute to play. Clyde Trapp hit one free throw to push the lead to 68-65 at the 32-second mark, but Forrest hit a layup just nine seconds later to make it 68-67.

Clyde Trapp was fouled with 17.1 seconds left and promptly missed both free throws. Simms appeared to come down with the rebound but as he stumbled out of bounds one of the officials blew an inadvertent whistle. After a lengthy review, the officials gave the ball to FSU because of the possession arrow

Forrest then hit a layup with nine seconds left to make it 69-68 FSU.

Clemson returns to the court Wednesday when the Tigers travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech in a 7 pm tip. Clemson closes the regular season next Friday, hosting Georgia Tech at 7 pm.


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