Gabe DeVoe had 17 points, including a crucial 3-pointer with 3:18 to go, and No. 20 Clemson got its first-ever win over Notre Dame, 67-58 on Saturday.
The Fighting Irish (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied with two straight 3s to draw within 59-56. That’s when freshman Amir Simms hit Clemson’s ninth 3-pointer with 1:02 to go to extend the lead.
Notre Dame could not come back as it lost its fourth straight. The Fighting Irish had a 5-0 all-time mark over the Tigers, and Clemson barely escaped continuing a second streak of failure in the same week: The Tigers fell to 0-59 all-time at Chapel Hill with their 87-78 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night.
Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed scored 12 points each for the Tigers (16-3, 5-2). Mitchell had 10 of Clemson’s final 20 points after Notre Dame had cut an 11-point lead to 47-46 on Martinas Geben’s bucket with nine minutes left.
TJ Gibbs led Notre Dame with 18 points. Matt Farrell, who came in averaging 18 points per game, ended with six on 2-of-11 shooting.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish dug themselves an early hole as Clemson made seven of its first eight shots and eventually built a 21-10 lead halfway through the opening period. But Notre Dame answered down the stretch, gradually cutting the lead to 31-30 as it tightened up the defense and found its shooting touch. … Notre Dame shot just two free throws.
Clemson: When the Tigers are hitting shots, they’re tough to beat. Unfortunately for Clemson, it doesn’t always happen that way. Gabe DeVoe, Marcquise Reed and Donte Grantham all had open 3s early on as the Tigers forged a double-digit lead. Clemson went cold after that, making just four of its last 16 shots of the opening half to open the door for the Fighting Irish. Clemson did just enough to stay in front.
The Tigers’ fortunes going forward could be impacted by an injury to Donte Grantham, who was second on the team coming in at 14.3 points a game. Grantham’s right leg appeared to buckle on a foul by Geben midway through the second half. Grantham, a senior, was helped off the court as he kept his right leg elevated.
Clemson great and NBA standout Wayne “Tree” Rollins was the featured former Tiger during a pregame alumni celebration. Rollins was recently inducted into the school’s Ring of Honor, the highest athletic award the university gives out. Rollins played 18 years in the NBA, 11 with the Atlanta Hawks. Rollins finished his degree from Clemson two years ago.
Notre Dame has a week off before facing Virginia Tech at home on Jan. 27.
Clemson visits No. 2 Virginia on Tuesday night.
South Alabama 83, Appalachian State 77: The Mountaineers (8-12, 3-4 Sun Belt) got 15 points from Justin Forrest, 14 from Griffin Kinney and 10 from Tyrell Johnson in a loss to the host Jaguars (11-9, 4-3). Isaac Johnson had eight rebounds. Ronshad Shabazz, who was averaging 19.7 points per game, hit just one of 14 shots, a 3-pointer. But he added five assists.
Neither team led by more than nine during a contest that saw five ties and five lead changes. Kinney knotted the score for Appalachian State three times down the stretch. Each time Rodrick Sikes, who finished with a game-high 26 points, put the Jaguars back in the lead. Sikes scored eight of the last 10 points.
South Alabama won the battle on the glass, 35-27, its 16 defensive rebounds aiding in 11 points on the fast break.
Johnson C. Smith 74, St. Augustine's 49: Christian Kirchman scored 20 points with nine assists, both team highs, as the Golden Bulls (10-7, 3-2 CIAA) cruised past the visiting Falcons (9-10, 6-2). Roddric Ross added 15 points and Robert Davis 10. Arthur Bennett pulled down six rebounds.
No. 4 Queens 92, Tusculum 57: Jalin Alexander and Shaun Willett paced the Royals (18-1, 10-1 SAC) with 15 points apiece in a rout of the visiting Pioneers (5-13, 3-8), who have lost four of their last five. Mike Davis and Lewis Diankulu scored 14 points each. Todd Withers added 11 rebounds and four assists, both team highs.