‘Big-time’ Clemson reaches 1st Elite 8 since 1980

  • Paolo Uggetti, ESPNMar 29, 2024, 12:41 AM ET LOS ANGELES– The Clemson fans who made the cross-country journey to Los Angeles for the West Regional semifinals were outnumbered by the Arizona fans who filled Crypto.com Arena, however by the time the buzzer sounded and Clemson outlasted Arizona 77-72 to punch its very first Elite Eight ticket considering that 1980, the spot of purple and orange on one side of the court was without a doubt the loudest.

    “Today was our day,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell stated postgame. “That was a big-time game by our guys.”

    It was a de facto home game for the Wildcats, however Clemson’s propensity for quick starts as soon as again put the Tigers in the chauffeur’s seat early on. Arizona didn’t rating for the first three minutes of the game, and Clemson raced out to a 27-14 lead that quelled the opposing crowd. The Tigers will now face No. 4 seed Alabama in the next round with each program intending to make its first Final Four.Editor’s Picks

1 Related”I stated earlier to the group, we’ve played in more extreme, harder environments than that,” senior center PJ Hall stated. “We’ve had harder road games, one at Chapel Hill, one at Alabama, one at an ice hockey rink in Canada versus TCU. We’ve played in hard places entering this game … we were calm.”

After taking down No. 3 seed Baylor in the round of 32, Clemson as soon as again shocked by stifling Arizona’s offense. At one point, the Wildcats were shooting 15% from the field, and they completed an abysmal 5-of-28 from 3. To hear Brownell and Clemson’s players inform it, they were not intimidated by Arizona’s skill or speed of play, which they slowed to their liking for the majority of the game.

“I have actually got an older team. These guys have actually seen a lot, done a lot and experienced success,” Brownell said.

“We were calm,” added Hall. “That speaks to our veterans, too, a great deal of older guys in the group. Staying calm and being able to withstand runs.”

Clemson’s experience was on complete display. Not just did the Tigers limit the Wildcats to well below their scoring and shooting overalls, however they had the ability to hold up against the unavoidable Arizona run that tied the game in the 2nd half and, at one point, even provided the Wildcats a slim lead.

“We discussed it at halftime,” Brownell stated. “‘Guys, they’re going to make another run or 2.’ And we’ve used the phrase ‘we’re built for this, we can manage this.’ We believe in our group. We’ve won some big-time roadway games this year. We have actually played a really difficult schedule.”

With 10 minutes left in a tied game, the Tigers stayed calm and stuck to their game plan on offense– attacking the paint– while switching to zone defense and letting Arizona shoot its escape of the game. Over those last 10 minutes, Clemson outscored Arizona 21-16 to cement the outcome: a spot in the Elite 8 for just the 2nd time in school history.Though Brownell

stated he considers his group to have more offending players than defensive, the Tigers have now held each of their three opponents in this tournament under 40 %shooting from the field. Limiting Arizona’s offense– the third-highest scoring system in the nation– to only 72 points was more evidence that they have the capability to compete with anyone on any offered night. Possibly nobody else anticipated them to get this far. And now that they’re here, their confidence is at an all-time high.”I simply believe our guys have a great deal of belief in

each other, and I certainly have a great deal of belief in my team, “Brownell stated.” We’re playing good basketball right now. And anything can occur in these competitions. “-

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