Clemson Men's Basketball wins streaky game against Louisville

Multiple runs by both teams yielded a close game late that the Tigers won by making free throws when they counted the most.
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Men’s Basketball defeated the Louisville Cardinals 70-64 Tuesday night in Littlejohn Coliseum behind a strong effort from their starting lineup.

The Tigers got all but 16 points from their Big Three. PJ Hall led the way with 25 points and 5 rebounds. Chase Hunter followed with 16 points and Joe Girard with 13.

Ian Schieffelin and Chauncey Wiggins put in the work on the glass with 8 and 7 rebounds respectively. Wiggins also led with 4 assists.

The game started as a close matchup with a tight score until late in the first half when Clemson began a run that gave them a 34-22 lead at halftime. The Tigers began the second half with a 21-9 run that put them over twenty points ahead of the Cardinals.

Louisville responded with a 25-7 run that cut the lead to single digits before Clemson reaffirmed their control over the game. A final 8-2 run by the Cardinals narrowed the gap in the waning moments of the contest, but Clemson was able to make their free throws and get the victory.

The victory brings the Tigers to 14-6 overall and 4-5 in the ACC. That puts them at 10th in the conference standings as they begin February.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently has the Tigers as a No. 6 seed in his latest projections. KenPom has Clemson at No. 34.

The Tigers will host the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, February 3rd in Littlejohn Coliseum.

The up-and-down nature of the game has many Clemson fans lamenting the stereotypical nature of the Tigers’ program: build a lead and then let that lead slip away. This stereotype has been reinforced for years both on the macro (season) level and the micro (game) level.

The frustration for fans is understandable, and there are no guarantees for the balance of the season, but there are still reasons that this season’s final story is far from being written. The Tigers get six of their remaining eleven regular season games at home.

Things haven’t always fallen into place for the Tigers this season, but the parts are still there. If they peak at the right time, this squad can make a postseason run, but in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. The pressure is on head coach Brad Brownell to maneuver this team into building positive momentum in February and early March.

The final X factor for this team is Girard. The fortunes of this team seem to revolve around how well he is playing. When he is hot and scoring points, this team is difficult to beat. When he has a bad night and isn’t a factor, it seems they can lose no matter how many other guys are playing well, particularly Hall and Schieffelin.

You may recall that Girard’s former program, Syracuse, tended to catch fire in the postseason, and much of that was because Girard caught fire. If he brings that same postseason surge, we could see a surprising performance from Clemson this year.