BLACKSBURG, Va. -- For all the heartbreaking losses, Virginia Tech finally came out on the plus side.
Jarell Eddie scored 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 on Saturday, and Virginia Tech squandered almost all of a big second-half lead and barely hung on to beat Clemson, 67-65.
The Hokies (13-10, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by double figures until the last four minutes when Clemson went on a 15-3 run helped by an effective full court press. The Tigers had the ball and a chance to win or tie, but missed two free throws and a shot at the buzzer to end it.
Andre Young and K.J. McDaniels scored 14 points each and Devin Booker 11 for the Tigers (11-11, 3-5). They had the ball with a chance to tie or win in the final seconds, but McDaniels missed two free throws, and Tanner Smith's shot from the baseline missed as time expired.
"We were on our heels for a while and a knockout punch away," Tigers coach Brad Brownell said, adding that some teams would have been blown out.
"I give our guys credit for battling, but I just told them we can't wait that long to decide we're going to get involved in a fight." he said.
The Tigers trailed throughout before closing quickly. Tanner Smith's driving basket and a three-point play by Bernard Sullivan on a tip-in started the comeback. A dunk by Booker made it 64-57, and Dorenzo Hudson ended Tech's drought with two free throws.
Finney-Smith made the Hokies' last field goal, a 3-pointer with 5:54 remaining, capping a night in which the freshman made 5 of 8 shots after missing 25 straight over six games.
After Hudson's free throws, McDaniels scored the next three baskets, making it 66-63, and after Erick Green made only one of two free throws with 41.6 seconds left, Tanner Smith's baseline jumper made it 67-65.
3-Point Goals -- Clemson 2-17 (Young 2-8, Sapp 0-1, McDaniels 0-01, Narcisse 0-2, Smith 0-5). VT 6-20 (Finney-Smith 2-3, Eddie 2-6, Rankin1-3, Green 1-3, Brown 0-2, Hudson 0-3. Steals -- Clemson 2 (Coleman, Smith); VT 4 (Green 2). Blocks -- Clemson 6 (McDaniels 5); VT 4 (Eddie 2). Turnovers -- Clemson 10 (Smith 3); VT 9 (Rankin 2, Davila 2). Tech -- None. A--9,426.
The Hokies called timeout and inbounded the ball to Victor Davila, a 64 percent free throw shooter, and he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 25.4 seconds to play, setting up Clemson's final sequence following a timeout with 11 seconds to go.
McDaniels went for the tie driving down the lane, but was fouled by Eddie, and missed.
Virginia Tech led 42-28 at halftime thanks to a big early run. After the Hokies opened a 23-7 lead, the teams essentially traded baskets the rest of the half. The Hokies led by as many as 17, and the halftime margin was the closest the Tigers got after Tech's early blitz.
Leading 5-3, Virginia Tech went on an 18-4 run started by Green's 3-pointer. Green had seven points in the burst and Marquis Rankin had five, including a ridiculous tip-in for a 6-footer while falling down and being fouled. He made the free throw, too, and when Green followed a turnover by the Tigers by sinking a pair of free throws, the Hokies had a 23-7 lead and the Tigers were still just 2-for-12 from the field.
Clemson, which had only four turnovers in a 65-61 loss at Virginia on Tuesday night, had six before the midpoint of the first half.
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