Clemson Tigers Cruise in Rout of Seminoles

CLEMSON, S.C. — It was a record setting night at Littlejohn Coliseum for the Clemson Tigers.

Behind PJ Hall’s 20 points and 18 from guard Chase Hunter, the Tigers routed Florida State 94-54 on Wednesday. The 40-point win is the largest margin of victory over an ACC opponent in the program’s history. Clemson’s previous high was 34 points against Duke in 1975 and Boston College in 2008.

“It was a terrific performance by our team. We played really well on both ends,” head coach Brad Brownell said. “We shot it really well, which always helps. I thought our activity level, defensively, was good and created some turnovers. We rebounded well. It was a terrific performance.”

It was a performance the Tigers (19-7, 11-4 ACC) desperately needed to stay in the NCAA Tournament hunt.

“We had lost three in a row, but we played pretty well in the Miami game, we really did,” Brownell said. “They just played a little bit better and made a couple of plays. It’s not like we played terrible in every game. We played very poorly in the second half at Chapel Hill, and obviously, we ran into a buzzsaw.”

That role reversed for Clemson on Wednesday night. Against the Seminoles (8-19, 6-10 ACC) the Tigers were the more motivated team and showed they were the ones that had something to play for.

“I think they were much more motivated than we were,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I feel like they were playing for something different, higher. Normally, that is something our team has always been.”

Besides setting a new mark for margin of victory over an ACC foe, Clemson also tied a school record for the number of conference wins in a season. The Tigers’ 11 ACC wins tie the 1951-’52 team that went 11-4 in the SoCon. They also tied Brownell’s 2017-’18 team that went 11-7 in ACC play.

The win allows Clemson to stay two games ahead of NC State for the No. 4 seed in next month’s tournament and just one-game back of first place Pitt and Virginia in the ACC standings. The top four teams in the league earn a two-day bye in the conference tournament.

“We are still in it. We are right there,” Brownell said. “We might be a game out right now, but we have to continue to play well to keep us in it. This is where you want to be. You want to be playing meaningful games in March and that is what this team has done.”

As for the game itself, Hall finished the night 8-for-10 from the field and was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range, while Hunter was 7-of-9 overall and 2-for-3 from downtown.

From the get-go, the Tigers dominated the Seminoles. Clemson opened the game with a 16-3 run and never looked back. They led by as many 41 points while snapping a three-game losing streak.

Coupled with its win at FSU on Jan. 28, Clemson swept the Seminoles for the first time in a regular season since the 2009-’10 season.

“This is definitely a momentum boost for us,” Hunter said. “I would not say were down these past few weeks, but losing is not fun. Getting this win and going to the next game that is definitely a big game for us. It is going to be huge just for our confidence.”

Florida State did not draw closer than 10 points. The Seminoles were led by Baba Miller’s 12 points.

Clemson scored 31 points off 16 FSU turnovers for a 31-9 advantage. The Tigers led by 21 points, 47-26, at the break. They shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and had a 22-10 advantage in the paint.

Stat of the game: Chase Hunter and PJ Hall combined for 28 points, while shooting 11-of-12 from the field in the opening half. Hunter was 6-of-7 and scored 16 points, while Hall was 5-for-5 and scored 12 points. Both were 2-for-2 from behind the arc. The rest of the Clemson team was 7-of-18 and scored 19 points and 0-for-6 from three-point range.

Injury update: There were no injuries to report.

Player of the Game: PJ Hall was very efficient against the Seminoles, scoring 20 points in 22 minutes of game action. The junior was also 8-of-10 from the field and set a new career best in three-pointers made in a game, as he went 4-for-4 from behind the arc. He also had six rebounds.

Key Moment: The Tigers opened the game on a 16-3 run and did not look back.

Up next: Clemson will play Saturday at Louisville. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

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