Sometimes it just isn’t your night and that was the case for the Clemson basketball team on Tuesday night in Blacksburg.
On a night in which Aamir Simms was once again in early foul trouble, the Tigers were plagued by shooting woes for much of the night as the Hokies came away with a 66-60 win. The Tigers did not score for close to four minutes to start the game and then went more than six minutes in the second half without scoring. Clemson shot 38% on the night.
This was the teams third game in the past week and head coach Brad Brownell said afterwards that he thought that played a part in his team not being quite so sharp.
“Did feel like our team was a little slow,” Brownell said. “I thought we were a step slow, especially early in the game. I didn’t think we had a lot of juice. I could just sense it with our guys the last two days and we tried to do everything we could to just get them up, get them going, get them ready but I just didn’t think we quite had as much spirit and juice and energy as we’ve had, certainly the first five games and I thought Virginia Tech did.”
After trailing by double digits for most of the second half, Clemson was able to make a game of it late, pulling within two points on more than one occasion with under a minute left. However, the Hokies made just enough plays to hold the Tigers off.
Along with not shooting well, Clemson was beat on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. The Hokies outrebounded the Tigers 33-25 and 7-4 on the offensive glass, with a few of those turning into easy points.
The Hokies also dominated the free throw line numbers. Virginia Tech was 25-31 while Clemson was just 12-14. The Tigers also got just 8 points from the bench.
“Did some decent things in the game,” Brownell said. “Our defensive numbers were pretty good. We held them to 40% shooting, they only made five threes. Obviously the free throw disparity was a difference in the game. We turned them over 17 times.”
Al-Amir Dawes led all scorers with 18 points, going 5-11 from three. Simms added 15 points on 4-6 shooting, with most of those coming in that second half.
The loss drops the No. 24 Tigers to 5-1 on the season and 0-1 in ACC play, while Virginia Tech improves to 5-1 and 1-0.
With this weekend’s matchup with South Carolina postponed, next up for Clemson is a 2 pm matchup on Tuesday, at home against Morehead State.