Midlands natives Mack, Trapp shine as Clemson upends Syracuse

CLEMSON, S.C. — Winning its fourth-straight home game in dramatic fashion, the Clemson University men’s basketball team pulled out a thrilling one-point victory over Syracuse on Tuesday. The Tigers won 71-70 versus the Orange at Littlejohn Coliseum, and a layup by Clyde Trapp with two seconds remaining served as the winning basket.

Clemson (11-9, 5-5) was quite efficient from the floor on the night, shooting 48.1 percent from the floor. Syracuse (13-8, 6-4) shot the ball at a percentage of 42.1 percent. The Tigers knocked down nine 3-pointers and went 10-for-12 at the free throw line. They also outrebounded the Orange 36-26. Syracuse scored 15 points off 16 turnovers, but Clemson made up for that with 32 points in the paint.

The Tigers’ efforts were manned by Tevin Mack and Clyde Trapp, who put together arguably the best performances of their respective Clemson careers. Mack was a force to be reckoned with on the night, knocking down shot after shot from the elbow and extending possessions with pivotal offensive rebounds. The veteran scored a career-high 32 points via a career-best 12 field goals. Additionally, Mack was 7-of-8 at the charity stripe and pulled down 10 rebounds for his first double-double in a Tiger uniform. He became the first Clemson player to score at least 32 points since Jaron Blossomgame dropped 32 in 2016. Furthermore, Mack’s 32 points were the most scored by a Clemson player in a conference tilt at home since Ed Scott scored 36 at Littlejohn in 2002. As for Trapp, on top of his late-game heroics, he set new career-best marks for himself in points (17), rebounds (9), assists (6) and field goals (6) in his 35 minutes of action.

Trapp came out firing, knocking down back-to-back 3-balls Clemson’s first two times down the floor. The Tigers went on to lead by as many as nine points in the first half, as Clemson was up 15-6 on Syracuse at the 13:47 mark of the first half. Syracuse eventually led 25-20, thanks to a 9-0 run, and both teams traded treys on four consecutive possessions late in the first. The Orange sported a 35-33 lead at halftime, and Syracuse was hot out of the intermission, stringing together a 10-2 run en route to going up 45-35. Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes led Syracuse with 22 points apiece.

Mack took over the game at that point, single-handedly manufacturing an 8-0 run that pulled the Tigers to within one of the Orange at 50-49. That was part of a larger 12-2 run that provided Clemson with its first lead of the second half. Down the stretch, Syracuse led 70-67 as a result of a 3-point shot with 1:34 remaining. Aamir Simms proceeded to connect on a jumper that decreased Clemson’s deficit to one point, and a crucial defensive rebound by Khavon Moore with seven seconds on the game clock set up the frenetic winning play. After receiving a feed from Moore on the baseline, Trapp drove in for a contested layup that went Clemson’s way and sent shock waves through the arena. The Orange were held in check in the final seconds, and the Tigers came away with a 71-70 win that snapped Syracuse’s 5-game winning streak.

Next up for the Tigers is a matchup on Saturday, Feb. 1, against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-10, 2-7). Clemson defeated Wake Forest 71-68 at Littlejohn on Tuesday, Jan 21. Saturday’s contest at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum will tip off at 8 p.m. and air on ACC Network.

Categories: Clemson, Local Sports, Sports