Clemson Sets New Record for Conference Wins

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Clemson men’s basketball team needed someone to step up Wednesday night against Syracuse if it wanted to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

Hunter Tyson obliged.

The graduate scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in leading the Tigers to a 91-73 victory over Syracuse at Littlejohn Coliseum. The win not only kept Clemson in the NCAA Tournament talks, but it also set a new all-time mark for conference wins in a season.

As the regular season gets closer to the end, the Tigers have very little room for error going forward. Every game, including Wednesday’s, is almost like a tournament game — survive and advance.

“It kind of is in some ways,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “We have been trying in all these games. It’s not like we have not been trying.”

Clemson has three games left in the regular season, plus the ACC Tournament. With a Net Ranking of 82 coming into the Syracuse game, it needs to get as many wins as it can get.

The Tigers play at NC State on Saturday, visit Virginia on Tuesday and host Notre Dame to close the regular season on March 4.

“I think we are just trying to take it one game at a time,” Tyson said. “Obviously, every game is very important. We realize that, and we are going to go out there and do our best and try to prepare every day to the best of our ability. We are going to go out there and try to give it our best shot.”

Clemson (20-8) won its 12th game in ACC play, improving to 12-5. The 12 wins break the record of 11 set by the 1952 team and tied by Brad Brownell’s 2018 squad.

“It means a lot. I am super proud of our team,” Brownell said. “Conference record for wins, I get it. We play twenty games now, but we did it in seventeen. So, that is pretty good.”

The victory also allowed Clemson to stay in fourth place in the ACC standings, a half game ahead of NC State, who it plays on Saturday in Raleigh. The top four teams in the ACC earn a two-day bye in next month’s conference tournament.

The 20 wins mark the fifth time under Brownell the Tigers have won 20 games in a season and just the 16th time it has happened in program history. Brownell’s five 20-win seasons also rank first by a Clemson head coach, one more than Oliver Purnell’s four and two more than Bill Foster’s three.

“Our guys have hung in there, and twenty wins is a lot to be proud of,” Brownell said. “These kids have really put in a lot of time and effort and hung in there. We have dealt with some injuries and guys have kept swinging. I am just proud of this group. It has been a very fun group to coach.”

As for the game itself on Wednesday, the Tigers never trailed the Orange. They led by as many as 25 points in the second half.

Tyson got rolling with about 14 minutes to play in the opening half, as he scored 11 straight points for the Tigers during a three minute and 21 second span.

Clemson led 45-32 at the break, as Tyson finished with 19 first-half points. The graduate made 7-of-10 shots, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc. He finished his night 10-of-16 from the field and 6-of-12 from downtown.

Brevin Galloway’s three with 4:58 to play in the half gave the Tigers their largest lead of the half, 38-20. Clemson was 8-of-30 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes and shot 51 percent (18-35) from the floor.

Syracuse (16-12, 9-8 ACC) was led by Judah Mintz’s 23 points. 

Stat of the game: All five starters finished in double digit scoring for Clemson. Besides Tyson’s 29 points, the Tigers got 16 points from PJ Hall, 15 from Galloway, 13 from Chase Hunter and 10 from Ian Schieffelin. Hunter also had a career-high 11 assists and the Tigers finished with 28 overall.

Injury update: There were no injuries to report.

Player of the Game: Tyson led the Tigers with 29 points and 10 rebounds. It was his 13th double-double of the season.

Key Moment: Tyson scored 11 straight points during a three-minute and 21 second span in the first half, allowing Clemson to maintain its double-digit lead on the Orange.

Up next: Clemson will play Saturday at NC State. Tip is set for noon.

–photo by Jonathan Abercrombie / All Clemson

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