CLEMSON, S.C. — Proving to be the “Cardiac Cats” yet again, the Clemson University men’s basketball team knocked off the No. 6 Florida State Seminoles 70-69 on a game-winning layup with one second remaining. Al-Amir Dawes drove the length of the floor for the go-ahead basket, coming up clutch and providing the Tigers with their third victory of the season over a top-10 opponent at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson (15-13, 9-9) made 48.2 percent of its shots on the afternoon, and Florida State (24-5, 14-4) recorded a shooting percentage of 50. The Tigers connected on six 3-pointers and tallied an impressive 40 points of the paint. The Seminoles benefited from 24 bench points but committed 16 turnovers, which led to 23 Clemson points. Also of note, the Tigers drew six charges, the most drawn by a Clemson team since the 1986-87 squad drew seven in a game.
Dawes continued with his recent string of success by scoring 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting to go along with his four assists. John Newman III also scored 18 points, going 6-for-13 from the floor and 5-for-6 at the free throw line. Tevin Mack tabbed nine points and five boards, surpassing the 400-rebound mark for his career. Aamir Simms corralled a team-high eight rebounds. Florida State’s Devin Vassell registered 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Tigers were braced by Dawes in the first half, as the floor general consistently drove the basket and scored 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The Seminoles sported a 39-32 lead at halftime and led by as many as 10 points early in the second half. Clemson clawed back with a 7-0 run that was capped off by a thunderous dunk from Newman out of the fast break. Furthermore, the Tigers were able to erase their deficit by holding the Seminoles without a field goal for 8:55 of play in the second half.
Taking their first lead since the early goings, the Tigers went up 46-45 on a layup by Newman with 13:35 left, setting the stage for a back-and-forth duel the rest of the way. Mack swished a go-ahead 3-ball with 1:43 on the game clock that placed Clemson up 65-63. With under 10 seconds remaining, Florida State took a 69-68 lead on a jumper in the paint, but Dawes responded by racing to the other end of the court and making a contested layup with just one second left. Once the final buzzer sounded in the 70-69 Clemson victory, the raucous Littlejohn faithful stormed the court. The Tigers have defeated three top-6 opponents this season for the first time since the 1979-80 slate.
Clemson will take part in its final road contest of the regular season on Wednesday, March 4. The Tigers are set to head to Blacksburg, Va., for a matchup against Virginia Tech (15-13, 6-11). The Hokies defeated the Tigers 67-60 in the season opener at Littlejohn on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Wednesday’s game at Cassell Coliseum will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on ACC Network.