Clemson Men's Basketball: Tigers rally falls short in loss to Virginia

Jan 13, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell reacts during
Jan 13, 2024; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell reacts during / Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

You can't say that Clemson Men's Basketball didn't have chances to win Saturday's game against the Virginia Cavaliers in Littlejohn Coliseum even after trailing for over 37 minutes of the contest.

Despite starting the game 5 for 17 from the field, trailing by as much as 12 and finishing the game 0 for their last 5 from the field and not making a field goal in the last 5:36 of the game, there Clemson was with the ball with the ball down by 1 in the final seconds.

Instead of taking the ball to the basket, which he'd done successfully all day, Chase Hunter opted to pass the ball out to Jack Clark, who was 0 for the day, to attempt a three-pointer as time expired.

In his post-game interview, Brownell indicated that he wanted the ball in Hunter's hands at the end.

It missed and the Cavs hung on for a 66-65 win, dropping the Tigers to 14-7 and 4-6 in the ACC, as the Tigers once-promising season appears further and further in the rear view mirror.

Continuing a recent theme, Clemson was horrible from the field, shooting a putrid 35.5% from the field in the first half, 36.0% in the second and 35.7% from the field for the game.

Clemson was 7 of 20 (35%) from three-point range, with Joe Girard going 4-6 and the rest of the team 3 for 14.

P.J. Hall led Clemson with 19 points, but 10 of those came from the free-throw line as the senior struggled to a 4 of 16 day from the field, repeatedly missing close shots, as evidenced by the Tigers finishing 9 for 25 on layups.

Girard scored 14, Ian Schieffelin 13 and Hunter 12 for the Tigers.

Schieffelin led Clemson with 9 rebounds, with Clark hauling in 8 boards and Hall 6, but the Tigers were outrebounded on their home court for the second consecutive game.

Jacob Groves led the Cavs with 17 points, including 3 of 4 from three-point range, with Reece Beekman and Isaac McKneely chipping in 14 apiece.

Ryan Dunn had 10 boards and Jordan Minor 9 for Virginia.

Clemson Men's Basketball fails to deliver or make good decisions in clutch

Hunter's decision to pass the ball certainly could have worked out and Clemson could have won. That doesn't mean it would have been a good decision.

In most scenarios like this, you want to be moving the ball toward the basket (you just needed a two-pointer or two free throws, not a three) for a higher percentage shot or hopefully get to the line. See the end of the Duke game, for example.

You should force the defense to make a play or force the referee to make a call, not force your teammate to make a 23+ foot jump shot at the buzzer.

The Tigers now face a daunting schedule over the next five games with games at North Carolina and Syracuse next week, then hosting Miami and North Carolina State before a rematch with Georgia Tech.