The Clemson basketball team had a time motivating itself to compete in the first round of the NIT Tournament, but the Tigers found a way to win.
The Clemson basketball team came out the locker room Tuesday evening to find a lot of empty seats.
Littlejohn Coliseum had one of the smallest crowds it has had all year and the sleepy atmosphere, mixed with disappointment from not making the NCAA Tournament, was a tough situation to overcome.
Somehow, though, the Tigers fought down the stretch- and the Clemson basketball faithful that showed up attempted to create a better atmosphere late in the game- and came away with the victory over Wright State, a final score of 75-69.
The Tigers jumped out to a 16-2 lead, but allowed Wright State to get back in the game, ultimately ending with a 33-33 tie at halftime.
Clemson was a little slow out of the second half and Wright State took advantage, jumping out to a six-point lead, 47-41, with 13:55 to go.
After that, Clemson basketball went on a 14-3 run and went up 55-50. The Tigers held on down the stretch, made some key shots and found a way to win.
With the victory, Clemson will take on the winner of Furman-Wright State in the second round of the NIT Tournament on Sunday in Littlejohn Coliseum.
Marcquise Reed led the way with 24 points, while Elijah Thomas added 17 points. David Skara had 16 points and nine rebounds and Clyde Trapp had 12 points for the Tigers.
Overall, this game was about as you’d expect.
Clemson wasn’t really motivated to come in and get the job done, but they found a way to get the victory.
Obviously, the NIT is not what Tiger fans wanted, but this team still has a chance to achieve something in the historical scheme of things. Clemson has never won an NIT Tournament Championship. The Tigers have only advanced to the finals of the tournament twice, in 1999 and 2007, losing both times.