Reece Beekman led the way for the Wahoos with a career high 20 points on 7-10 shooting. Yet, despite a stellar performance from the sophomore point guard, the rest of the UVA attack contributed near to nothing.
The Tigers started the game hot from the perimeter with three triples in the first three minutes of play to take a 9-5 lead as Beekman provided a rare perimeter make of his own to keep Virginia competitive.
A forced shot clock violation, an Armaan Franklin jumper from the free throw line, and a catch and shoot three from Jayden Gardner put the ‘Hoos on top, 10-9 inside the sixteen minute mark.
Clemson clawed back in front before the under-twelve timeout until Beekman hit a deep three at the end of the shot clock to tie the game up at 15. That came just a few possessions after he hit a smooth midrange pull-up as the shot clock expired as he tallied eight points in the first nine minutes of play.
A few more made shots for the Tigers put them in the lead again before they stretched it out a bit by the seven minute mark, winning 24-19. Beekman continued his offensive assault with a quick drive to the basket to cut the deficit to three points.
But, back to back turnaround jumpers for Clemson made the score 28-21 before a PJ Hall deep ball with a hand in his face put the ‘Hoos down by double digits with 3:40 left in the half.
A pair of drives from Franklin and Beekman and then a pull-up midrange bucket from the former Indiana transfer kept the ‘Hoos in the game. But UVA couldn’t but a hamper on the Clemson offense and headed to halftime down by eight, 35-27.
An Armaan Franklin three followed up by a steal and transition dunk from Beekman quickly got the ‘Hoos within five points. A Kihei Clark three made the game a two score affair off Virginia’s 8-0 run and forced a Clemson timeout.
But, after that, the ‘Hoos went on over a five minute scoring drought as Clemson stretched its lead back out to nine points. Turnovers became a real issue for UVA as the Tigers continued to convert off the Wahoos’s mistakes as Clemson led 51-37 with just under ten minutes left in regulation.
The UVA offense remained incredibly stagnant as that Clark three pointer at the 17:34 remained the most recent made field goal for the ‘Hoos for over 11 minutes. Clemson took its largest lead of the game so far at 15 with the score at 55-40.
A jumper and a pair of free throws from Franklin got Virginia’s offense going again but that was no answer for Clemson as Hunter Tyson nailed a three-ball and then hit a step back jumper to put the lead back up to 16 points.
Everything continued to go downhill from there as UVA had near to nothing in terms of a comeback late in the second half and Clemson cruised to a seventeen point win.
This is yet another disappointing loss for the Wahoos as this team’s tournament odds are starting to look bleak. It’s going to take a massive turnaround for UVA to pull themselves back into contention both within the conference and in regards to tournament play in March.