Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers fall to Memphis, 79-77

Tigers unable to hold halftime lead in first loss of season

Dec 6, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson junior forward PJ Hall (24) makes a shot near
Dec 6, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson junior forward PJ Hall (24) makes a shot near / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
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An exhausted, but game Clemson Tigers Men's Basketball team fell short in their bid to remain undefeated, falling to the Memphis Tigers by a score of 79-77.

Clemson took a seven-point lead into halftime, but Memphis made adjustments and came out hitting the boards in the second half, while Clemson's lack of depth showed.

Brad Brownell's team got only 38 minutes off the bench on the day, with 30 of those coming from Dillon Hunter, meaning Clemson was effectively running a six-man rotation, while Memphis had eight players that played at least 14 minutes of action.

P.J. Hall led Clemson with 21 points, while Chauncey Wiggins added 19, Chase Hunter 13 and Ian Schieffelin 11 for Clemson.

Schieffelin added 11 rebounds to complete a double-double, while guard Joe Girard 9 rebounds and Wiggins 7.

As predicted, it was a back-and-forth affair with nine lead changes and three ties, with both teams answering runs by the other.

Clemson had a final chance with Chase Hunter at the line for a one-and-one with 3.3 seconds left down by three.

After making the first, Hunter intentionally missed the second, but the clock ran out as the teams scrambled for the rebound without Clemson getting a shot off.

Memphis succeeded in speeding the Tigers up and Clemson ended the game with 15 turnovers, about five more a game than they averaged over their first nine games.

Clemson shot 49.2% from the field, but only 30.4% from three-point range and missed four second-half free throws (not counting Chase Hunter's intentional miss) in the loss.

The Tigers, especially Schieffelin, were visibly exhausted for stretches of the second half and the Memphis Tigers took advantage several times for easy buckets.

Brownell's once-deep team, has taken a hit with injuries to Alex Hemenway and North Carolina State transfer Jack Clark.

On the bright side, the short bench allowed Chauncey Wiggins to thrive in 34 minutes of play as the sophomore was 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 6 from three-point range.

Clemson Men's Basketball has nothing to be ashamed of in 9-1 start

Despite not being able to finish with the win in Memphis, this Clemson team has proven to be up to the task of taking on any team in any arena to date without fear or backing down.

The announced crowd of 15,052 at the FedEx Forum was treated to a well-played college basketball game between two teams that will be playing in March Madness.

For the Clemson Tigers, next up are their final two non-conference games against Queens and Radford on December 22 and December 29, respectively, at Littlejohn Coliseum and the chance to enter the heart of ACC play with an 11-1 record.

After those two games, Clemson faces 19 consecutive ACC foes in their quest to get back to March Madness.

This is a good basketball team, but for the Tigers to reach their potential, they need to get healthy as a six-man rotation is not a winning formula long-term in conference play.