CLEMSON, S.C. — Behind 22 points and a career-high five 3-pointers from graduate senior guard Shelton Mitchell, Clemson University men’s basketball gritted out a win over No. 11/10 Virginia Tech – holding them to just 28.3 percent shooting from the field in a 59-51 victory.
The Tigers (15-8, 5-5 ACC) held the No. 1-ranked field goal percentage team in the ACC and No. 40 overall in the country to a dismal 28.3 percent shooting, including just 26.3 percent from long range. The 28.3 percent shooting was the lowest of the season for Virginia Tech.
Mitchell led with his 22 points – 18 of which came in the opening stanza. Marcquise Reed hit two big 3-pointers and finished 7-for-7 at the charity stripe.
Elijah Thomas tied his career-high with seven blocked shots – giving the big man 19 blocks in his last three games.
Clemson engineered a 14-0 run in the early going, including 12-straight points from Mitchell to race out to a nine-point advantage and never looked back as the Tigers led the Hokies (18-5, 7-4 ACC) for 35:43 of game play.
After taking a four-point lead into the break, the Tigers were able to fend off the Hokies at every turn. Virginia Tech closed to within three points on five occasions in the second half, including to just one at 41-40.
With that narrow one-point advantage following a Kerry Blackshear Jr. jumper, Clemson received huge shots – both 3-pointers – from Reed and freshman forward Hunter Tyson to push the lead back to seven.
The lead closed to three again at 47-44 and Reed yet again hit another big three. The next trip down the floor following a missed shot, David Skara hit a tough step-back three to tie Clemson for its largest lead of the game at nine and the Tigers were able to close out the eight-point victory.
Skara finished with three points, but it was his defense that mattered most on Saturday. Skara held the Hokies’ leading scorer, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, to just 3-for-14 shooting from the floor.