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Clemson stuns Arizona, survives second-half surge to reach Elite 8

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To win a national championship, making clutch baskets is a must, and that’s exactly what the No. 6 Clemson Tigers did in their Sweet 16 matchup against the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats Thursday night. 

The Tigers watched the Wildcats fight back and take the lead late in the second half, but they held off a late-game surge to move on in the NCAA Tournament with a 77-72 win.

Clemson went into the second half with a 39-31 lead, but a Caleb Love and-one for Arizona with 16:33 left made it a tie game at 43.

But the Tigers didn’t let the momentum swing shake them. They kept making shots, especially down the stretch, to win the game. 

The lead was 68-63 with 2:23 left when both teams started trading buckets. PJ Hall’s free throws gave Clemson a five-point lead, but Oumar Ballo made a layup to make it a three-point game. 


With 1:05 left, Clemson knew it needed to make Arizona miss and knock down free throws. But  Arizona’s Jaden Bradley buried a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game with 52 seconds left in the game. 

All the momentum was on the Wildcats’ bench. But after a timeout, Chase Hunter had the biggest bucket of the night, knocking down a layup as he was fouled for an and-one. 

Ian Schieffelin dribbles

He hit the free throw to make it a five-point game again. Love hit a quick jumper for Arizona to keep its chances alive with 16 seconds to play, but Dillon Hunter made a layup just five seconds later. 

Three of Clemson’s starting five scored in double figures. Chase Hunter led the way with 18 points, and Hall had 17. 

For Arizona, it was a shockingly bad shooting performance by Love, who went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc and 5-for-18 overall. He finished with 13 points. Ballo was 7-of-10 from the field for a team-high 15 points and 15 rebounds. 

PJ Hall dunks

Clemson awaits the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 Alabama.

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