Clemson season ends with loss to Morehead State in NIT
The Clemson-Morehead State NIT game Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum was in many ways a microcosm of the Tigers’ season.
Clemson got off to a fantastic start, jumping ahead by as many as 15 points in the first half, but ultimately it ended in disappointment.
The Eagles battled back from an early deficit and held on for a 68-64 win in the first round of the NIT.
With the loss, Clemson’s season ends at 23-11 (14-6). Morehead State advances to face UAB with the victory.
“I thought we really felt the pressure,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “One of the few games this year, especially at home, where we really had a hard time making a shot and making some free throws.”
That wasn’t the case early on as Clemson jumped out to a 10-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Tigers led 29-14 with 8:29 remaining in the first half, but that’s when Morehead State started chipping away. The Eagles ended the half on an 18-5 run to trail by only two at the break.
“I thought our kids were ready to play. I thought we got off to a good start. Had a nice lead in the first half, played a bunch of guys,” Brownell said. “Then we got a little casual at the end of the first half and gave them some life.”
Morehead State carried that momentum over to the second half and eventually took its first lead at 55-54 with 4:37 to play.
Clemson was only 1-for-11 from 3-point range in the second half, as Hunter Tyson, Brevin Galloway and Chase Hunter combined to go 0-for-10.
For the game, Tyson and Galloway, who are two of the best shooters on the team, combined to go 2-for-17 from 3-point range.
“It’s hard. I bet 13 or 14 of them were good shots,” Brownell said. “Brevin and Hunter most nights are going to make — you don’t have to make many more. If they make five we probably win the game.”
For the game, Clemson shot 41 percent from the field, 21.4 percent from 3-point range and 57 percent from the free throw line.
The Tigers entered shooting 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free throw line.
“This is one of the few games this year where you could feel the pressure. They felt it. I couldn’t get them to relax,” Brownell said. “I tried, but there was a clear struggle offensively. We just couldn’t make a shot.”