Clemson Falls at No. 2 UVa, 65-42
Virginia put a 35-8 run and Clemson's offensive ineptitude to good use Tuesday night, beating Clemson 65-42 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The second-ranked Cavaliers improved to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC, while Clemson fell to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in the ACC. Jaron Blossomgame led the Tigers with 9 points and 10 boards.
Clemson hit just 15-of-42 shots from the floor (35.7%) and was just 3-of-13 from the 3-point line. The Tigers - who didn't have a player score in double figures - were led by the nine points and 10 rebounds of Jaron Blossomgame. Virginia hit 50% of its shots from the field (25-50) and were 10-21 from beyond the arc.
A tight first half saw the Tigers close to within two at 19-17 on a Landry Nnoko layup with just over three minutes remaining until intermission. The Tigers would score just two points over those final three minutes and trailed 25-19 at the break.
"It's been hard. Obviously we lost K.J. (McDaniels) and he is who we ran our offense through last year," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said of the offensive struggles. "We are just not equipped to lose a guy like that. It has made it harder for us. I think we have some good players, but we don't have a go to guy to draw a foul, overpower someone, or make a tough shot that bails you out. Like Justin Anderson jumping up and making a 23-foot three with a guy on him, we don't have that. Sometimes it's just about players making big shots to start the run or get the crowd going at home. I thought we played really well against Virginia, and we're still down six (in the first half). That speaks to how good Virginia is."
The Cavaliers then went on a 29-6 surge to begin the second half, as Clemson scored just six points in the half's first 12 minutes. Clemson hit just two of its first 15 shots in the second half as the Cavs cruised to victory.
"They played great in the second half," Brownell said. "I thought we played well in the first half. We probably should have had the lead more often. We shot a good percentage and got the ball in good places. We got to the free throw line and I don't think they got to the bonus, but we got to the bonus. We had too many turnovers and too many missed shots. We missed four open threes to start the second half. They locked in and did some better things defensively. Our second half performance was very poor. I was upset with a couple guys on our team who didn't play the way they should have, so I didn't play them as much. Virginia played well and they showed why they are so good. They are a very talented and well-coached team."
The Tigers return to Clemson for a three-game home stand, starting with a Saturday afternoon matchup against Syracuse. The game is set for a 4 p.m. tipoff in Littlejohn Coliseum.
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