Clemson exits NCAA tournament after first round loss to Rutgers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On Wednesday, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell detailed how different and unique the bubble of this year’s NCAA Tournament was compared to his other experiences in the postseason.
As it turns out, his team didn’t have to endure the bubble for long.
Clemson couldn’t muster enough offense in the second half to hang with Rutgers, falling to the Scarlet Knights 60-56 in the first round Friday night.
The Tigers’ offense put the team in a position to win late. Rutgers shot just 39.6 percent from the field, and were held to 60 points after averaging 70 points per game during the regular season. But Clemson’s offensive struggles (35.6 percent shooting, 6-for-19 from 3-point range) were too significant to overcome.
Clemson was anchored by its two seniors in the second half, with Aamir Simms and Clyde Trapp providing the only semblance of reliable offense down the stretch.
Simms turned in an admirable effort in his final game as a Clemson Tiger, leading the team in points (15), rebounds (11) and assists (3) like he did all season long. With a chance to tie the game in the final minute, Simms committed a costly turnover with a travel to give the Scarlet Knights the ball back to put the game out of reach.
Trapp scored 14 points, including nine straight in the beginning of the second half. He shot 5-for-6 from the field, and hit all three of his free throw attempts.
Clemson’s season comes to a premature end after the Tigers build considerable momentum heading into the tournament. Clemson won six of its final seven games entering the ACC Tournament before losing to Miami in the first round.