Virginia defeats Clemson in cold-shooting slugfest


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Clemson hosts Notre Dame Sunday at 6 pm (Photo by Jeremy Brevard, USAT)
Clemson hosts Notre Dame Sunday at 6 pm (Photo by Jeremy Brevard, USAT)

Clemson’s second-half rally fell short as Virginia held on for a 51-44 victory Wednesday night at John Paul Jones Arena.

Clemson has now lost two straight in the ACC and falls to 11-11 overall and 5-7 in the ACC, while Virginia improves to 15-6 overall and 7-4 in the league.

Aamir Simms led Clemson with 16 points, while Al-Amir Dawes sparked a second-half surge and finished with 11 points as the only other Clemson player in double figures. Braxton Key led Virginia and all scorers with 19 points.

Clemson had trimmed the Virginia lead to just three at 42-39, but Key made a 3-pointer to extend the Cavalier lead to six at 45-39 at the 1:28 mark. The Tigers had two chances to hit 3-pointers on the ensuing possession but missed both, and Key hit two free throws after a foul to effectively seal the win for the Cavaliers.

Clemson scored just 14 points in the first half as Virginia led 26-14. The Tigers outscored Virginia 30-25 in the second half. Clemson shot just 6-of-28 from 3-point range (21.4 percent) and hit just 17 of 52 field goals (32.7 percent) in another desultory offensive effort.

Clemson returns to the court Sunday, hosting Notre Dame at 6 pm.

POSTGAME QUOTES

Head Coach Brad Brownell

Opening statement:

"This one hurts a little bit. I felt like the atmosphere bothered us early in the game. The crowd was electric, and the band was going crazy. We were just a little fidgety, and it was hard for us to get going. Virginia jumped on us. Then, we mixed in some zone and eventually went primarily to zone. That settled our guys down. I thought the guys played well in the second half. But, at the end of the day, it's a shot maker's game, and we're not making timely threes or the shots that we need to win. Virginia had seven blocks, but it felt like they had 17 blocks. It was hard for us to drive and score. We had some open looks down the stretch, though. If you're going to win a game on the road against a good team, you have to make those shots."

On Clemson's standout performers:

"I thought Al-Amir [Dawes] was terrific. We still need to work with him on his shooting, but he's a courageous little guy. His speed and energy are what enabled him to run down eight rebounds. He was going in there to make plays. Aamir [Simms] was really good. Tevin [Mack] was really good, as well. I thought those three guys played aggressively and fearlessly in a tough environment."

On the Tigers' defensive showing:

"Virginia shot 37.0 percent and got only five offensive rebounds. I thought our guys were physical and did a great job of tracking down long misses against a Virginia team with a tremendous size advantage. I just thought our guys competed really hard."

On Aamir Simms' performance:

"He did a little bit of everything. He's growing as a player. He's a guy we trust a lot, and we put the ball in his hands a lot. He was the guy who kept us in the game in the second half tonight. He played with poise, made big baskets and kept our team together in the second half."


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