MBB: Clemson 64 LSU 61 Final
ST. THOMAS — Trailing 56-52 at the under-four media timeout, Clemson rallied for a 64-61 triumph over LSU to win the fourth place game at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ACC’s Tigers improved to 3-2 overall and went 2-1 in the event, while LSU fell to 3-2, leaving the tournament with a 1-2 mark.
Donte Grantham’s three put Clemson ahead with two minutes left, and the Tigers salted the game away by making five of six free throws inside the final 90 seconds. During the same stretch, Clemson’s defense limited LSU to just 1-of-6 field goals.
Damarcus Harrison led the Tigers with 16 points, while fellow senior Rod Hall produced 14 and did not miss a free throw in five tries. Grantham (13) and Jaron Blossomgame (10) were also in double figures, while Landry Nnoko contributed eight points, nine rebounds and a pair of key blocks inside the final stretch.
Clemson came out with a stingy defensive approach, limiting LSU to one make over its first 11 field goal attempts. As a result, the ACC Tigers built a 10-4 lead almost seven minutes into the game. But LSU whittled away at it, making its next four shots and eventually claiming a 16-14 advantage. The lead stretched to 29-23, but Clemson ended the half strong on a 7-2 run to pull within one at the break.
Blossomgame tipped in a Nnoko miss to give the Tigers a 59-57 lead with 1:27 to go, and from there Clemson was flawless with its execution. Plagued by 15 turnovers in the game, Clemson did not commit a single one inside the final five minutes.
The Tigers return home to play four consecutive games, starting with High Point on Friday. The game tips off at 7 p.m. ET from Littlejohn Coliseum.
• Clemson beat LSU in the first meeting between the two schools since 1969. The Tigers evened the series at three wins apiece.
• With the win, the Tigers improved to 2-1 at the Paradise Jam. It is the third straight season the Tigers have gone 2-1 in regular season tournament action (2012 Old Spice Classic, 2013 Charleston Classic).
• Clemson held LSU to a .377 field goal percentage, the fourth opponent in five games to shoot less than 40 percent versus the Tigers.
• After the Tigers’ first two Paradise Jam opponents made a combined 15 three-pointers, their defense held LSU to just 1-of-13 from beyond the arc (.077).
• Clemson had 13 offensive rebounds against LSU, its second-highest mark of the season.
• Damarcus Harrison led the Tigers in scoring for the second time in three Paradise Jam games, with 16 points. He made 7-of-12 shots and converted 53.6 percent overall for the event.
• Rod Hall posted 14 points, his third double figure effort of the season. Hall was 5-for-5 at the free throw line.
• Hall committed just four turnovers in 109 minutes at the tournament.
• Donte Grantham matched his season-high with 13 points; the freshman was 3-for-5 from long distance, both season highs.
• Grantham posted a season-best three assists and two steals Monday.
• Landry Nnoko continued his strong play, upping his streak to 14 games with at least one blocked shot. He was credited with two, both in the final stages of Monday’s game.
• Nnoko needs just eight blocks to reach 100 for his career.
• Jaron Blossomgame reached double figures for the fourth time this season and notched his second career double-double.
• Josh Smith played 18 minutes, his high since the Virginia game on Feb. 15, 2014.
• Sidy Djitte did not play Monday due to a knee injury and is day-to-day.