CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – P.J. Horne had a tie-breaking dunk with 63 seconds left and freshman Landers Nolley II scored 30 points and Virginia Tech outlasted Clemson 67-60 on Tuesday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference and season opener for both teams.
Clemson rallied from 55-50 down to it at 57-all with 1:11 left. That’s when Wabissa Bede came out of a defensive tangle to throw a long pass to a wide-open Horne, who jammed the ball, got fouled and made the free throw.
Bede came up big one more time when he blocked the shot of Tigers freshman Al-Amir Dawes, picked up the steal that lead to a basket from Tyrece Radford to seal it with 39 seconds left.
The win was the first for new coach Mike Young and the 300th of his career in a satisfying debut for the new-look Hokies.
Nolley was a huge part of that.
The 6-foot-7 freshman, who redshirted last season, shot 12 of 23 with four 3-pointers. Nolley stretched Virginia Tech’s lead down the stretch with a basket and two foul shots to go up 55-50 with 4:58 to go before the wild finish.
It was Clemson’s first loss in a season opener since 1984-85, a run of 34 straight wins that was snapped. Of course, the Tigers hadn’t faced an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent during that long run.
The league, in a nod to the recently launched ACC Network, chose to start its new 20-game basketball schedule with ACC play to open the season.
Newman led the Tigers with 15 points. Aamir Simms finished with 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies have a stellar building block with Landers Nolley as they try and keep their NCAA Tournament run – they’ve qualified for the past three – going. Young spent the previous 18 seasons at Wofford where he reached five NCAAs between 2010 and 2019.
Clemson: The Tigers played without four senior starters from last season and it showed. They settled for far too many outside shots (7 of 28 on 3-pointers) and struggled to get the ball underneath to take advantage of Aamir Simms, the long returning starter.
Virginia Tech starts its home schedule with Coppin State on Friday night.
Clemson continues its three-game opening week against Presbyterian on Thursday night.
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