BC beats No. 20 Clemson 62-54; Tigers' lead sliced atop ACC
BOSTON (AP) — Clemson wasn’t able to escape on the road this time.
Makai Ashton-Langford had two key driving baskets in the closing two minutes and finished with 15 points to help Boston College beat the 20th-ranked Tigers 62-54 on Tuesday night.
“I couldn’t get my guys under control. I couldn’t get them to relax. That’s my fault,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “For whatever reason, we just didn’t do a good job tonight. I didn’t do a good job as a coach.”
On Saturday, Clemson escaped with an 82-81 victory at Florida State.
Jaeden Zackery added 13 points for the Eagles (11-12, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference). BC held Clemson to one meaningful field goal — and that came with 18 seconds left — in the final 13:16.
Hunter Tyson led Clemson (18-5, 10-2) with 22 points and Chase Hunter had 12. The Tigers fell into a tie in the loss column atop the ACC with No. 6 Virginia (9-2 ACC).
“It was one of those nights where the other team played better than we did,” Brownell said. “We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. We didn’t share the ball much. When we got behind, we kind of panicked and hoped Chase and Hunter would bail us out. That’s poor coaching.”
The Eagles used a 5-0 spurt — with T.J. Bickerstaff hitting a free throw and getting a driving layup — to pull ahead 50-45 with just over five minutes to play.
Clemson sliced it to 50-47 before Aston-Langford made his two big baskets. He followed that by making two free throws with 32 seconds left.
“That’s just about digging deep honestly,” Zackery said. “That’s just all it was. We’ve been kind of talking about it all season that we’ve just got to come out and grind.”
Trailing by 10 midway into the second half, the Tigers went on a 10-0 spree, tying it at 45 when RJ Godfrey hit both ends of a 1-and-1.
The Eagles had opened a double-digit lead twice in the opening six minutes of the second half, the later 45-35 on Prince Aligbe’s foul-line jumper with 14:12 to play.
Clemson: Off to a solid start in conference play, the Tigers were tested on the road for the second straight game after edging Florida State. It hasn’t been easy for them away from home with a 4-3 record and with three away matchups against North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia to go, they’ll need to get it straightened out of they’re going to win the ACC regular-season title.
Boston College: The Eagles proved when they play defense that they’re a tough out in coach Earl Grant’s second season. A little more offense could make them very dangerous for top ACC teams to play.
“I just tell the guys that we’re just trying to build something,” Grant said of his team’s defense down the stretch. “You are what you repeatedly do. You build habits.”
In the first half, Clemson’s man-to-man defense smothered the Eagles’ offense for the opening 10 minutes, holding them in single digits in scoring until just about the same time the student section finished filling up late, bringing some energy to a very quiet building.
BC’s players then responded, closing the half with a 22-4 spree that turned an 11-point deficit to a 30-23 halftime edge.
Both teams were missing key players. Guard Brevin Galloway, Clemson’s fourth leading scorer at 10.6 points per game, was sidelined with an abdominal injury. For BC, guard DeMarr Langford Jr., who logs big minutes at the point, was out with a knee injury.
Clemson: Hosts No. 23 Miami on Saturday.
Boston College: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.