Clemson Tigers Secure Victory Against Baylor Bears in Second Round of NCAA Tournament

For 35 minutes of the game against Baylor Bears, the #6 seed Clemson Tigers seemed to have everything under control. However, it became evident that the pressure to close out a sweet 16 berth was weighing heavily on the Tigers.

Thankfully, Brad Brownell’s squad was able to figure out a way to win, winning the game in the last seconds with a score of 72–64. Following their nearly 15-point lead in the second half, the Tigers will advance to face #2 seed Arizona in the regional semifinals in Los Angeles next week.

Now, let’s delve into how the Tigers secured this thrilling win. Here are some rapid reactions to this significant triumph:

Clemson Takes the Lead in Free Throw Line Accuracy

One of the pivotal moments in the game was the difference in free throw shooting accuracy. Clemson shot 83.3% from the line, while Baylor lagged behind at 61.5%.

In the second half, Baylor missed crucial opportunities one after another, particularly when their star freshman, Jacoby Walter (81.4% free throw shooter in the season), faltered.

With a slim 66-64 lead and 37 seconds left to play, Walter was at the line for two free throws. He missed the second, allowing Clemson to secure the rebound after the second miss and prevent fouling.

RJ Godfrey Steps Up When It Matters Most

In a move Walter couldn’t replicate, RJ Godfrey, a 55.8% free throw shooter in the season, nailed all four of his free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

Looking at both teams’ performance, Clemson managed to capitalize on free throw opportunities while Baylor struggled to convert, leaving critical points on the board.

Clemson’s Defense Stifles Baylor’s Three-Point Shooting

Throughout the season, Baylor led the league in three-point shooting at 38.8%. However, Clemson’s defense thwarted Baylor’s attempts to find their rhythm beyond the arc.

Overall, Baylor shot a dismal 6-24 (25%) from three-point range, with key players like Ray Dens (2-10) and Walter (3-9) failing to make a significant impact.

Clemson’s Chris Hunter Emerges as the Star Player

Despite PJ Hall’s below-par performance, Chris Hunter stepped up emphatically. Hunter, who shot well from the floor and the free throw line, led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points.

Hunter’s stellar performance came after his outstanding 21-point effort against New Mexico in the season. As March unfolds, Clemson relies on senior leadership, and Hunter has proven to be the player they need.

In summary, it was made clear that Clemson were capable of keeping their cool when the stakes were high, of working out to their advantage whatever advantages the opponent had, and of evening out the odds of the opponent being ahead. The team will carry on as they advance through NCAA Tournament and will keep on their rotational system together with their fighting spirit which they will tap into to face up to challenges and their ultimate quest for honor.

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