Oakland Bounces Clemson in First Round of NIT

CLEMSON, S.C. (CAC) — Oakland overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat Clemson in the NIT on Tuesday, 74-69. The Tigers ended their season with a 17-16 overall record, while the Golden Grizzlies improved to 25-8 to advance to the next round against either Alabama or Richmond.

Jaron Blossomgame ended his career by joining the top five scorers in Clemson history, posting a game-high 24 points to pass Trevor Booker in the record books. Blossomgame and Shelton Mitchell (13) were the only double-figure scorers for the Tigers, who struggled to just 27 percent shooting in the second frame after a sizzling first half. Martez Walker and Sherron Dorsey-Walker combined for 44 to lead Oakland.

Mitchell got the Tigers off and running. An early driving baseline dunk brought the crowd to its feet, and later a four-point play lifted Clemson to a 23-16 lead. After the Grizzlies cut it to one at 23-22, Clemson ended the half on a 20-2 run. Included in the run were two big buckets by Legend Robertin, and a deep three with 0.7 seconds left off an inbounds play by Gabe DeVoe.

Clemson cooled considerably in the second half, and watched Oakland take its first lead on a 12-0 run with under seven minutes left. A banked jumper in the paint by Dorsey-Walker put the Grizzlies up 63-61, which had been a 10-point lead not long before. Walker put his team up six, 69-63, with 3:30 to play when a triple banked in from the top.