Clemson’s normally good scoring defense from the regular season arrived to the ACC tournament a little too late to help the Tigers advance.
Ninth-seeded Florida State shot 71 percent in the second half and survived a flurry of key errors in the final minutes to top the eighth-seeded Tigers 76-73 in the second round of the tournament on Wednesday.
Clemson, which trailed by 20, narrowed the deficit to 74-71 with 31 seconds remaining after Florida State’s Phil Cofer slipped during the in-bounds pass and Jaron Blossomgame collected the loose ball for a layup.
FSU’s Montay Brandon then had the next in-bounds pass bounce off his face and out of bounds. But Rod Hall’s floater with 12 seconds left rolled off the rim. After a Florida State free throw to go up by 3 with 9 seconds left, freshman Gabe DeVoe’s 3-pointer missed the mark along with Blossomgame’s tip-in.
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Ranked third in the ACC in scoring defense by allowing 61.7 points per game, Clemson (16-15) had no answer for freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes early on. Rathan-Mayes posted 30 points, marking the eighth time this year that he’s had at least 20 points.
The loss was the eighth in the past 10 ACC tournament games for the Tigers. Florida State will play No. 1 seeded Virginia at noon Thursday.