The Clemson Tigers opened Littlejohn Coliseum with a 76-72 victory over Georgia Tech on Nov. 30, 1968.
When the curtain fell on March 3, 2015, in the final regular season game at the venue before it undergoes a major overhaul, North Carolina State provided the opposition.
Different foe, different era, vastly different result.
Brad Brownell’s team went more than 14 minutes without a field, goal and N.C. State used a 17-0 surge in the second half to take control in a 66-61 victory over the Tigers late Tuesday night.
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“Our guys were excited to play and compete, and maybe too excited,” Brownell said. “I think the guys were a little too amped up in the first half, to be honest with you. I thought we guarded them about as well as we could (in the first half) but offensively we made poor decisions.”
The win was the Wolfpack’s 100th in the series.
“I thought the biggest thing was how we defended them most of the game,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We gave up some late baskets but for the most part we defended them well and made it difficult for them to score.”
Gabe DeVoe paced the Tigers (16-13, 8-9 ACC) with 18 points in six minutes of action late in the game, and Donte Grantham scored 12.
“Coach told me to shoot the ball, and that’s what I did,” DeVoe said. “I just wanted to be ready when I was called upon.”
The first half was a low-scoring, poor shooting percentage exhibition by both teams with the Tigers finishing the 20-minute installment 10-of-32 from the floor for 32 percent.
Gottfried’s team hit 25 percent (6-of-24), but drained four 3-pointers to one for the hosts.
A 17-0 run by N.C. State, combined with 15 consecutive missed shots by Brownell’s charges, led to a 49-33 deficit for the home team with less than five minutes to go.
It was the final regular season game in the current version of Littlejohn Coliseum, which will undergo a multi-million dollar facelift in the offseason and reopen for business in November, 2016.
However, there’s still a good chance the facility will host the Tigers at least once more this basketball season. Barring an epic run in the ACC Tournament next week, the Tigers are likely bound for the NIT, and that could include a home game.
The Tigers close the regular season on Saturday at Notre Dame, and then begin play in the ACC Tournament a week from Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C.
“We’ve got a shot at Notre Dame,” Brownell said. “And we can do some damage in Greensboro, if we get our minds right. We just can’t get down and sulk.”