LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Clemson SID) — Clemson University men’s basketball fell to the No. 6/5 Louisville on Saturday, 80-62.
Louisville (17-3, 8-1) shot the ball well on the day, garnering a 48.1-percent shooting mark from the floor. Clemson (10-9, 4-5) was 34.4 percent on field goal attempts and knocked down 11 3-pointers. The Cardinals benefited from an 18-of-22 performance at the free throw line. Louisville also outrebounded Clemson 41-29 and connected on 12 3-balls. The Tigers forced 12 turnovers and racked up 28 points off the bench.
Playing for the first time since an ankle injury sidelined him in November, Alex Hemenway was an X-factor off the bench for the Tigers. The freshman scored a season-high eight points, all of which came in the second half. Chase Hunter, another Clemson freshman, netted a pair of 3-point shots in his 8-point outing. Clyde Trapp was the leading scorer for the Tigers with 11 points to go along with his three assists, and Clemson’s Tevin Mack, who scored six points, corralled a team-high eight rebounds. Darius Perry manned the charge for Louisville with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
The contest was competitive early on, as a 3-pointer by Clemson’s John Newman III at the 13:51 mark of the first half made the score 11-9 in favor of Louisville. However, the Cardinals proceeded to outscore the Tigers 20-0 over the course of the next 5:43 of play. Louisville capped off that barrage by taking a 31-9 lead with 8:22 on the game clock.
Late in the first half, Hunter knocked down his aforementioned treys on back-to-back Clemson possessions, cutting the Tigers’ deficit to 16 points. The Cardinals, who shot 65.5 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of action, led 47-26 at halftime, though, and maintained their advantage throughout the second half. The Tigers trailed by as many as 26 points in the second half but did not give in, as Hemenway sparked a turnaround that saw Clemson pull to within 13 points down the stretch. Ultimately, Louisville was able to hold off Clemson
The Tigers will return home to Clemson, S.C., for their next game. Clemson and the Syracuse Orange (13-7, 6-3) are set to do battle at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The ACC tilt will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on a regional sports network (RSN).
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
“Louisville was really ready to play today. I’m disappointed that we didn’t play better. We got punched in the mouth early on. I think that we let our missed threes affect our defense. It was energy-draining. We didn’t compete like we normally do defensively, and Louisville was sharp.”
On the keys to the game:
“We regrouped at halftime and played better in the second half, but I’m disappointed in the way we played in the first half. Louisville’s bench wore us out. We couldn’t match Louisville’s physicality or speed. We were a half-step too slow. Louisville played with so much confidence in the first half, and we couldn’t do anything to slow them down. We got composed in the locker room at halftime and played better in the second half, but Louisville was clearly ready to play and played at a really high level for the first 20 minutes.”
On the performances by freshmen Al-Amir Dawes, Alex Hemenway and Chase Hunter:
“I’m really proud of those guys. Chase showed a brief glimpse of what we think that he’s capable of. You saw some really talented plays from him. That took guts for Alex to play like that. He had a bunch of family and friends here. It was basically a home town game for him, and he showed good confidence. Al showed great spirit in the second half. For those guys to fight the way that they did in that environment is something that I’m really excited about.”