Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers fall to Wolfpack, 78-77

Tigers suffer third one-point loss of season, second at home
Feb 10, 2024; Syracuse, New York, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell reacts to a play in
Feb 10, 2024; Syracuse, New York, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell reacts to a play in / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps more than any other collegiate sport, college basketball is a roller coaster of emotions, not only within a game as the teams go on seemingly inexplicable runs, but within the season that starts in November and, if you're lucky and good enough, doesn't end till sometime in late March.

No team is immune to the close losses, upsets, cold shooting, referees' discretion and just plain old "didn't show up" effects at some point during the season.

As Clemson fans, it just seems those kind of things happens more often than they should.

But here's to believing you make your own luck. If you get the ball in bounds two more times like a good Division I basketball team should, we're not having this discussion. If you don't foul 60 feet from the basket maybe the other team takes a couple less free throws throughout the game.

It's frustrating when the referee does (or doesn't) make the call you think he or she should. I'd argue it's more frustrating when your team throws lackadaisical passes that are intercepted or walks to take the ball out of bounds while the opponent is setting up their press.

At some point, you have to take responsibility.

Clemson fell to North Carolina State Saturday evening at Littlejohn Coliseum in a game that was not only very winnable, but a game the Tigers should have won, leading by 12 points at one point in the second half.

Still up 5 with just under 7 minutes to play, the Tigers hit one of those tough stretches where they couldn't put the ball in the basket, going without a field goal for over four minutes, allowing the Wolfpack to erase Clemson's lead.

In the final 25 seconds, a missed North Carolina State free throw and P.J. Hall rebound turned into a jump ball with the possession arrow in the Wolfpacks' favor and the Tigers holding a one-point lead.

D.J. Horne made his shot, Chase Hunter missed his and the Wolfpack won 78-77.

The loss spoiled a 23-point performance by Tiger guard Joe Girard, who hit 7 of 13 from the field, including 4 of 7 from three-point range.

Is Clemson Men's Basketball better than their record?

It's tempting to say this team is much better than their 17-8 record. Afterall, they lost by 2 at Memphis, 1 at Duke, 1 at home against Virginia and N.C. State and in double overtime to Georgia Tech.

They could easily be 22-3.

They could also just as easily be 14-11.

As that great philosopher, Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are."

Teams that are 22-3 find a way to win the games that Clemson has found a way to lose.

Clemson travels to Atlanta Wednesday to take on a Georgia Tech team that beat Clemson earlier this season at Littlejohn Coliseum and then gets the honor of hosting another game on TheCW next Saturday against Florida State.