Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers fall to Duke in last second

Dec 22, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell during the first half
Dec 22, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell during the first half / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Men's Basketball rallied after falling behind by as much as 12 in the first half, but ultimately fell to the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, by a score of 72-71 as Tyrese Proctor made two free throws with a second left.

It was a crushing loss for Brad Brownell's Tigers, who had a 4-point lead and the ball late, but suffered three consecutive turnovers down the stretch and committed a couple of fouls to let the Blue Devils escape with the win.

Down 12 with 3:00 to play in the first half the Tigers held Duke scoreless while scoring 6 to close the first half at 32-26 in the Blue Devils favor, but provide a little life for the Clemson side.

After a back-and-forth second half, two P.J. Hall free throws gave the Tigers a 71-70 lead with 7.4 seconds left.

Proctor then drove the ball in the lane and was hacked on the arm by Josh Beadle with a second to go and then sank both free throws for the win.

Joe Girard who was scoreless in the first half, was able to tally 13 second-half points and keep the Tigers in it despite off-shooting days from P.J. Hall (5 for 13) and Chase Hunter (4 for 11).

Clemson dominated Duke on the boards, outrebounding the home team by a 42-33 margin overall and 11 to 4 on offensive rebounds.

The Tigers were able to compete despite shooting only 38.3% from the floor and 30.4% from three-point range.

After a putrid first half, Clemson was better in half number two, shooting 48% from the field and 26% from three.

Hall, Girard and Chase Hunter were the three Tigers that reached double figures with 19, 13 and 11 points respectively.

Clemson was led on the boards by Ian Schieffelin with 11 rebounds and Hall with 10.

While the Tigers held Kyle Filipowski to 9 points and 4 rebounds on the day, guards Jared McCain (21) and Proctor (18) combined for 39 points and 10 rebounds.

Clemson Men's Basketball suffers another avoidable loss under Brad Brownell

While the players on the court have to perform, there have been constants throughout Brownell's tenure at Clemson.

Avoidable losses.

Lackadaisical inbound passes, cross-court passes when under no defensive pressure and bad defensive positioning and decision-making leading to fouls are all too common occurrences for a team as talented and experienced as this one.

Those things generally don't matter against Queens or Winthrop, but habits are hard to break and they often make a difference in a game of this magnitude against a team of Duke's quality, especially in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

As the players change from year to year, the results end up being very similar in the big picture and winnable games continue to be lost, at some point, enough becomes enough.

You know, that old definition of insanity? It applies here.

Clemson should be celebrating a win in one of college basketball's most storied venues over one of it's biggest brands.

Instead, they're dealt yet another frustrating loss, one that was avoidable and now contemplate how long this is going to be their fate.