Heartbreak in Charlotte: Tigers' NCAA chances dealt a blow in loss to Pack
|Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 1:13 PM- -|
CHARLOTTE, NC – Marcquise Reed’s long-range 3-pointer was too long as time expired and Clemson’s hopes for a berth in the NCAA Tournament might have fallen short in another heartbreaking loss to NC State for the Tigers.
NC State outscored Clemson 33-16 in the second half and hit two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining to beat Clemson 59-58 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte Wednesday afternoon. The Tigers blew an 18-point first half lead and 16-point halftime lead. Clemson has lost six games this season by two points or less.
NC State advances to play Virginia in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Clemson blew a six-point lead in the final seconds and lost at the buzzer to NC State earlier this season. The Tigers fall to 19-13 overall while the Wolfpack improve to 22-10.
Reed led Clemson with 16 points, while Aamir Sims was the only other Tiger in double figures with 11. Elijah Thomas fouled out having played just 18 minutes and scoring eight points.
The Tigers ran early and often in transition to build a big first-half lead. Reed and Mitchell hit early 3-pointers as the Tigers jumped in front 8-4, and Skara had two dunks on the break and 3-pointer as part of a 12-0 run as Clemson led 18-6 in the game’s first six minutes.
A 3-pointer by Aamir Sims from the right wing extended the lead to the Tigers’ largest of the half at 36-18 with 7:37 to play. The fouls were tied at 4-4 at that point, but Clemson picked up five of the next six and NC State went on an 8-0 run that covered four minutes to make it a 10-point game at 36-26.
A Javan White dunk and Clyde Trapp free throw made it 39-26 with 2:22 to play and Mitchell hit a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to make it 42-26. Neither team scored over the last 1:47 of the half and the Tigers had the 16-point lead at intermission.
The Wolfpack came out on fire to start the second half as the Tigers piled up fouls. Devon Daniels hit a 3-pointer from the corner seven minutes in that cut the lead to single digits at 51-42. That was the second shot in what turned out to be a 14-2 Wolfpack run in which Thomas picked up his fourth foul. With Thomas out of the game, the Wolfpack began to push Clemson’s offense to the perimeter and shots that fell early bounced in and out of the cylinder.
Clemson then went a stretch where it missed 14 consecutive shots, and NC State trimmed the lead to just two at 53-51 with a little over six minutes left in the contest. Brownell called timeout and put Thomas back in the game, but the Pack hit a 3-pointer to give NC State its first lead since a 4-3 lead in the first half at 54-53. Markel Johnson splashed a 3-pointer a few seconds later, and NC State led 57-53 as part of a 20-2 run.
Reed ended the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that made it 57-56 NC State with 3:56 to play in the contest, and a foul was called on State’s Torin Dorn on the play. On the inbounds, Thomas took over under the basket, and his layup put Clemson back in front at 58-57 with 3:40 to play in the contest.
The teams then spent the next two minutes swapping hurried shots and playing frantic defense, including a huge blocked shot by Thomas. With exactly one minute left to play, the Wolfpack took over after a video review. Reed was called for a push with 48.2 seconds left, and the Wolfpack took another timeout with 20 seconds left on the shot clock. A missed shot reset the shot clock, and Skara was called for a foul, followed by Thomas’ fifth foul. That gave NC State the ball with 18.7 seconds to play and no shot clock.
Johnson drove to the basket and his shot was well off the mark, but Trapp was called for the foul with 2.6 seconds remaining. Johnson drained both free throws and Brownell called timeout with those 2.6 seconds left on the clock and the Pack leading 59-58.