TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State had a chance to pull off its first upset of a top-25 team this season. Chase Hunter wasn’t about to let it happen.
Hunter drove the lane and drew a foul, sinking the free throw, with four seconds left to help No. 24 Clemson escape with an 82-81 win over Florida State on Saturday.
The sophomore guard shot 7 of 12 from the floor and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line in his first game back after missing two weeks due to an ankle injury. Hunter drove down the court, drawing the foul against Florida State’s Matthew Cleveland but delivering a clutch play in the final seconds for the Atlantic Coast Conference leaders.
“He makes you look good as a coach,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “He’s got tremendous speed, he’s athletic, he can get to the rim. He can make a three. Man, he’s not easy to guard in that scenario. It’s a hard cover.”
Hunter Tyson scored 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting for Clemson (18-4, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which halted an eight-game road losing streak to Florida State. Tyson came into the game averaging 15.5 points.
PJ Hall added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson, which outrebounded Florida State 38-27.
Matthew Cleveland scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half for Florida State (7-15, 5-6), the 15th straight game he scored in double figures. The Seminoles made a season-high 13 3-pointers, a few days after they hit just 3 of 22 3-pointers in a lopsided home loss to No. 20 Miami on Tuesday.
Caleb Mills and Darin Green Jr. each hit four 3-pointers for the Seminoles. Mills had 15 points, Green finished with 14.
Florida State trailed 11-0 early but erased the deficit by halftime to take a 34-33 lead.
“We have been challenging the guys to come out with that level of focus every game,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We have not had that consistent effort. A lot is that we are able to now keep guys a little fresher, we got some guys that were not maybe experienced early in the year, now we are able to get them in the game.”
Freshman forward Baba Miller had his best game, scoring 11 points and pulling down four rebounds in 20 minutes.
But Clemson improved to 4-1 in the ACC on the road, one of the main reasons why the Tigers are atop the league standings.
“It’s critical if you’re trying to win the league,” Brownell said. “And you got to win a bunch of games like we’ve won, right? We’ve won a bunch of close games, Virginia Tech, Pitt and now this one. You got to be a little bit lucky. And you got to have guys that make plays down the stretch.”
Clemson picked up its 10th ACC win yet oddly is ranked No. 24 in the AP poll. The Tigers have made an argument to rise in the rankings after wins over Georgia Tech and Florida State this week.
TYSON FOR 50
Tyson made 6 of 12 shots from beyond the arc, playing the full 40 minutes. He came into the game making 40.7 percent of his 3-pointers and has now made 50 shots from beyond the arc on the season.
Clemson: The Tigers made 10 or more 3-pointers for the first time in 11 ACC games to end the losing streak in Tallahassee.
Florida State: The injury-depleted Seminoles were also faced with foul trouble but battled back from a double-digit deficit before falling short in the final seconds.
Clemson plays at Boston College on Tuesday.
Florida State plays at NC State on Wednesday.
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