Offense was hard to come by for Louisville and No. 25 Clemson on Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum – for everyone other than Marcquise Reed.
Clemson’s junior guard scored 24 points, including 18 in the second half and overtime, as the Tigers topped Louisville 74-69 to improve to 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the ACC.
This is Clemson’s first 3-0 start in ACC play since the 2006-07 season.
“Just a hard-fought basketball game. Super proud of the way our team competed, because I thought the Louisville kids really competed, as well,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “Both teams really struggled to score, both defenses were a big part. I thought they really bothered us with some things, and I thought we bothered them. Guys were prepared, and we showed in overtime that we can score and play better offense, but I’m really pleased that we could win a game where we had to defend.”
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The game was tied at 23 at the half and went back-and-forth in the second half. The Tigers led by as many as eight with 9:31 remaining before Louisville (11-4, 1-1) rallied.
The Cardinals took a 55-53 lead with 2:03 remaining in regulation on a pair of free throws by Deng Adel, but Elijah Thomas answered with a bucket to tie the game at 55.
Louisville’s Quentin Snyder had a look from 3-point range at the buzzer, but his shot was off the mark.
Clemson quickly grabbed control in overtime thanks to Reed.
The Maryland native got a steal on Louisville’s first possession of overtime, was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws.
He then recorded another steal and finished off the layup to give Clemson a 59-55 advantage.
“That was huge. He’s playing very good basketball, and that doesn’t surprise us. He’s a guy that can play both ends,” Brownell said. “He’s a guy that we worked hard with him the last couple years defensively to improve. He really didn’t come to us with that kind of mindset. He was a scorer … So he’s really developed into a competitive guy and, obviously, you saw some of that on the defensive end today.”
It was then Gabe DeVoe’s turn to get going.
The senior was 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts in regulation but knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, as well as two free throws, in overtime to help Clemson finish off the victory.
“It felt great. I missed my first four, I think, for the game,” DeVoe said. “It just felt good to see the ball go through the hoop at a big moment like that.”
Clemson had four players finish in double-figures. In addition to Reed, Shelton Mitchell and DeVoe finished with 13 points each , while Thomas added 12.
Donte Grantham, who was averaging more than 15 points per game entering Saturday, was 2-for-11 from the field but did pull down 11 rebounds.
The Tigers finished with 15 steals and forced Louisville to commit 21 turnovers.
“There’s not an easy way, if there’s a way at all, to overcome turning the ball over 21 times, especially on the road,” Louisville coach David Padgett said. “That was the major difference in the game. We played well enough in every other area to win. Unfortunately that area caught up to us … You have to credit them.”
Clemson next plays at 9 p.m. Thursday against N.C. State in Raleigh.
No. 25 CLEMSON 74, LOUISVILLE 69 (OT)
LOUISVILLE (11-4): Adel 5-11 4-4 14, King 3-8 3-4 9, Spalding 8-16 0-0 16, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Snider 5-9 2-2 13, Mahmoud 3-6 0-2 6, Sutton 2-4 0-0 5, Perry 0-1 0-0 0, McMahon 2-5 0-0 6. Totals 28-62 9-12 69.
CLEMSON (14-1): E.Thomas 6-11 0-0 12, Grantham 2-11 2-3 6, Mitchell 2-13 8-9 13, Reed 8-17 5-6 24, DeVoe 4-11 2-2 13, Simms 2-2 0-0 4, Skara 0-1 0-0 0, Donnal 1-2 0-0 2, Spencer 0-0 0-0 0, Trapp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-68 17-20 74.
Halftime—23-23. End Of Regulation—Tied 55. 3-Point Goals—Louisville 4-14 (McMahon 2-5, Sutton 1-1, Snider 1-3, Williams 0-1, King 0-1, Spalding 0-1, Adel 0-2), Clemson 7-24 (Reed 3-6, DeVoe 3-8, Mitchell 1-5, Donnal 0-1, Skara 0-1, Grantham 0-3). Fouled Out—Spalding. Rebounds—Louisville 42 (Spalding 14), Clemson 34 (Grantham 11). Assists—Louisville 12 (Snider 5), Clemson 10 (Reed, DeVoe 3). Total Fouls—Louisville 17, Clemson 14. A—7,594 (10,000).