CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)Tevin Mack had a carer-high 32 points and Clyde Trapp hit a go-ahead driving layup with 2.5 seconds left as Clemson rallied from 10-points down in the second half to defeat Syracuse 71-70 on Tuesday night.
Mack, a grad transfer who played at Texas and Alabama before joining the Tigers this year, had 23 points in the second half for Clemson (11-9, 5-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Mack also had a game-best 10 rebounds.
Trapp finished with 17 points for the Tigers, who came from eight points behind Wake Forest in the second half of their last home game.
Joseph Girard III looked like he had pulled things out for the Orange with a 3-pointer to put his team up 70-67 with 1:35 to play. Then Girard stole the ball from Clemson’s leading scorer Aamir Simms with 40 seconds left and Syracuse still ahead 70-69.
But Elijah Hughes missed a layup with 10 seconds left and Trapp took a pass from Khavon Moore for the layup that sent Littlejohn Coliseum into hysterics.
The Orange had one last chance with less than a second left, but Hughes’ very long 3-point try was way off the mark.
Hughes and Buddy Boeheim had 22 points each to lead Syracuse (13-8 6-4).
Clemson fought back from 10-points down and took a 62-59 lead on Trapp’s three-point play with 5:07 left.
But Boeheim and Hughes combined for six straight points before Girard struck for his long-range shot to put Syracuse up, 70-67, and set up the drama-filled finish.
Clemson did early what opponents must to beat the Orange’s long-run, two-three zone defense – make outside shots.
The Tigers hit four of their first five attempts on the way to building a 15-6 lead on Syracuse the first minutes.
But then Hughes and Boeheim took over as the Orange closed the half by outscoring Clemson 29-18.
Hughes, the ACC’s leading scorer, had 15 points in the period and Boeheim, the league leader in made 3-pointers, closed the half with a pair of long-range jumpers in the final 80 seconds – both which regained the lead the Syracuse.
The Orange started the second half on a 10-2 run – Hughes and Boeheim combined for the first eight points in the stretch – and it seemed like Syracuse had a clear path to victory before Clemson’s rally.
THE BIG PICTURE
Syracuse: The Orange were hurt by foul trouble to starters Marek Dolezaj and Bourama Sidibe, who both fouled out down the stretch. Their absence gave Clemson more room to operate down low.
Clemson: There’s no figuring out the Tigers, who followed a 1-5 December by going 5-2 in January. This month, Clemson won at North Carolina for the first time ever, defeated No. 9 Duke and had second-half rallies to top Wake Forest and the Orange.
Syracuse starts a three-game home stand against Duke on Saturday.
Clemson plays at Wake Forest on Saturday night.
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