Clem­son vic­tory im­proves NCAA chances

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - College Basketball - BY PETE IACOBELLI As­so­ci­ated Press

Mar­c­quise Reed has played like its NCAA Tour­na­ment time for weeks as Clem­son fights to land on the right side of the bub­ble. He had a sec­ond-half per­for­mance against Syra­cuse sure to gain the Tigers some points with the tour­na­ment com­mit­tee.

Reed scored 20 of his 24 points in the sec­ond half as Clem­son over­came a poor start to rally past Syra­cuse 67-55 Sat­ur­day and give a boost to its NCAA Tour­na­ment chances.

The Tigers (19-12, 9-9 ACC) used a 13-0 run mid­way through the sec­ond half. Reed had seven points dur­ing the stretch, ty­ing the game at 38 on a 3-pointer be­fore Aamir Simms’ jumper put Clem­son ahead for good.

Reed, a se­nior play­ing his fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son game at Lit­tle­john Coli­seum, said he’s treated the past cou­ple of weeks like NCAA play, know­ing ev­ery vic­tory was es­sen­tial if the Tigers hope to make it back to the Big Dance for a sec­ond straight sea­son.

“Ev­ery game has ba­si­cally been an NCAA Tour­na­ment game,” he said.

If that’s the case, Reed and the Tigers have had an im­pact as they’ve won four of their last five and fin­ished .500 or bet­ter in the ACC for the sixth time in coach Brad Brownell’s nine sea­sons.

Brownell is un­sure if his team is in the field of 68. “But if you’ve watched us, we look like a team that’s good enough to be in the NCAA and do a lot of dam­age,” he said.

It was an im­prob­a­ble turn­around given the Tigers’ early strug­gles. They missed their first 13 shots and were just 3-of-21 shoot­ing early on as the Or­ange built a nine-point lead. Syra­cuse (19-12, 10-8) was still up 38-33 on Bourama Sidibe’s bas­ket with 15:53 to play when Clem­son be­gan its de­cid­ing run.

By the time David Skara fin­ished a 3-point play, the Tigers led 47-38.

Syra­cuse closed to 4947 on Buddy Boe­heim’s 4-point play. But Shel­ton Mitchell fol­lowed with three foul shots, and Reed hit two to once more ex­tend Clem­son’s lead.

Reed was stone cold in the open­ing half as Clem­son’s lead­ing scorer made just two of his eight field­goal at­tempts.

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