Photo Credit: Clemson Athletics

Clemson Basketball holds on against Arizona, reaches second Elite Eight in school history

It was 1980 the last time the Clemson Basketball reached the Elite Eight, their first in program history. 

Their second time was on Thursday night. 

The Tigers defeated the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats by a score of 77-72 at the Arena in Los Angeles, California. 

Clemson used a 13-point first-half lead to hold on in the final frame, being the first team to advance in the Sweet 16 this weekend. 

One of the biggest names in March Madness so far has been Chase Hunter, who was the hero late once again. The guard had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. 

His biggest play? It happened with 25 seconds to go, where Hunter would get contact by Arizona’s Jaden Bradley and finish a layup with his left hand. 

The free throw was good. The Tigers pushed the lead to five points, and the redshirt senior would score the most crucial three points of his Clemson career. 

Head coach Brad Brownell and his squad continued their dominance early. After ten minutes of gameplay, the Tigers would be up by 11 points. While Arizona has been a productive team on the scoring side of the ball, they would only score eight points in the first ten minutes. 

The Tigers’ third game had a similar script to the previous two in the Big Dance: controlling the lead. While Arizona continued to push in the second half, Clemson was only trailing for 20 seconds in the contest. 

The team continued to hold offenses from the 3-point line. The Wildcats were only able to shoot a low 17.9% from deep. Caleb Love would miss all nine of his 3-point attempts in the contest. He would finish with 13 points. 

While the previous two contests were frustrating for center PJ Hall, the senior would bounce back with a 17-point performance. He would have another huge play down the stretch: cutting away from a defender and throwing a dunk down to maintain Clemson’s lead. Hall also sank two of his three 3-pointers. 

Clemson’s bench continued to have great contributions. Forward RJ Godfrey would have seven points, while Chauncey Wiggins would score eight. All of the sophomore’s points were in the first half. 

The Tigers will play again on Saturday night, where they will face either the North Carolina Tar Heels or the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Arena on Saturday, time to be determined. 

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