Nebraska stifles Clemson rally as Tigers drop second straight

by - Staff Writer -
Nebraska edged Clemson by two Monday night at Littlejohn Coliseum (Photo by Josh Kelly, USAT)
Nebraska edged Clemson by two Monday night at Littlejohn Coliseum (Photo by Josh Kelly, USAT)

CLEMSON – Nebraska and Clemson were even much of the first half, but the Cornhuskers were too much for the Tigers to handle in the second half.

Nebraska (6-1) took down Clemson (5-2) 68-66 Monday night at Littlejohn Coliseum to give the Big 10 a point in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. This was the second meeting between the Tigers and Cornhuskers with Clemson winning the only other meeting 60-58 in November 2016.

Elijah Thomas led Clemson with 16 points, while Marcquise Reed added 15 and Shelton Mitchell added 14 in the loss. Nebraska’s James Palmer led all scorers with 20 points.

Monday’s game between Clemson and Nebraska was part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and it marked the Tigers 19th appearance in the contest. Clemson is third overall between both leagues with 11 wins – trailing only Duke (17) and Virginia (12).

Clemson is 11-8 overall, including 5-5 on its home floor in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. It’s six road wins is the best among all programs in both leagues. The Tigers have won two-straight against the Big Ten, including last season’s 79-65 victory at Ohio State and a 60-58 matchup with Nebraska in 2016-17.

Nebraska opened a 64-56 lead capped off by a Thomas Allen three, forcing Clemson to call a timeout with 2:19 to play, but Clemson wouldn’t give up.

The Tigers outscored the Cornhuskers 8-2 over the next minute-and-a-half to cut the lead to 66-64 with 57 seconds to play. Marcquise Reed started the run with a three and David Skara gave Littlejohn life with a thunderous dunk on a fast break.

Clemson had a chance to tie the game after getting a stop with less than 10 seconds to play but a turnover by Reed forced Clemson to go into foul mode.

Glynn Watson, Jr. hit both free throws with just over six seconds to play and Aamir Simms answered with a layup to make it 68-66, with just one second remaining.

Much like the first half, Elijah Thomas scored four points, but quickly picked a foul – his third of the game – and headed to the bench.

Nebraska outscored Clemson 11-4 over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half opening up a 42-37 lead, but back-to-back jumpers by Marcquise Reed made it 42-41 game with 14:33 to play.

A pair of threes by Watson and James Palmer, Jr. once again made it a five-point game at 60-45 with just over 12 minutes to play.

Clemson cut the lead to one point with just over seven minutes to play but gave up back-to-back layups and an Isaac Copeland, Jr. dunk, all while turning it over on consecutive offensive possessions as Nebraska extended its lead to 59-52 with 5:32 to play.

The two teams stayed within striking distance of each other for the entire first half, with the biggest lead for either team coming at the 17:20 mark when Clemson lead 6-0.

Elijah Thomas scored the first four points but was limited in the first half after picking up a technical foul and a personal foul.

The Tigers led for most of the first half until Nebraska went on a 9-2 run to take a 29-25 lead with just over five minutes to play before intermission.

Clemson answered with a 6-2 run of its own to tie the game at 31-31 at the half.

Clyde Trapp had arguably his best half of the season, going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc and scoring eight points in the first half.

The Tigers have eight days off, hosting St. Peter's on December 4th at 7 pm in Littlejohn Coliseum.

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