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Clemson seniors power Tigers past Syracuse in home finale, 90-75

Senior Night at Littlejohn Coliseum had to include a little fun from Clemson’s senior class.

PJ Hall had 21 points in the first half and finished with 25, Joe Girard added 21, and Clemson picked up a crucial 90-75 victory over Syracuse in ACC play Tuesday.

The win was critical for a Tigers (21-9 overall, 11-8 ACC) team that is hoping to finish in the top four in league standings to earn a double bye in the ACC Tournament later this month in Washington, D.C.

On this night, they certainly played like one of the ACC’s four best.

Clemson jumped out to an early 11-point lead after senior Chase Hunter sank the Tigers’ fourth 3-pointer of the first eight-plus minutes of the game.

When Hall made a jumper with 1:28 to play in the half, he had 21 points and the Tigers had upped their lead back to double digits after it had dwindled to just two earlier.

And on Clemson’s last possession of the half, Ian Schieffelin shot a thrilling no-look pass to Hunter, who had cut under the basket for a dunk to close the half with an exclamation point. The Tigers led, 42-30, at halftime following a 12-2 run.

“We got a bunch of open shots (early),” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said afterwards. “PJ was getting some open looks. He didn’t make many at Notre Dame, but boy was he making them tonight. I just felt like he gave us a shot in the arm.”

Hunter sank his third 3-pointer of the game with 8:01 to play in regulation, and the Tigers had their largest lead of the night to that point at 68-54.

Girard, a late-arriving member to Clemson’s senior class after transferring from Syracuse a year ago, made a four-point play against his former team with 5:42 left. Girard drew a foul from Kyle Cuffe Jr. while connecting on a 3-pointer.

Hall made a two-handed slam with 2:53 to play to cap his performance, and Hunter followed with a dunk of his own on the Tigers’ next possession. Hunter had 17 points, one of four Clemson players to finish in double figures.

Schieffelin finished with 16 points to go with 16 rebounds. He was 6-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line.

“Offensively, we were just really good,” Brownell said. “We took care of the ball for the most part. We went inside a lot to Ian and he was able to deliver. We just had a really good mix to our game.”

Hall, Hunter, Girard, and Jack Clark all checked out of the game with 31.5 remaining. They received a standing ovation from an appreciative Littlejohn crowd.

“Great performance and I’m certainly happy for our seniors,” Brownell added. “I thought Chase, Joe and PJ all played great. They were really locked in.”

Judah Mintz had 20 points to lead Syracuse (20-10, 11-8).

Tuesday’s win moved the Tigers ahead of Syracuse for fourth in conference standings. Clemson can clinch a double bye in the ACC tournament with a win over Wake Forest Saturday in Winston-Salem.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire