- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Seth Allen thought Virginia Tech’s toughness carried the Hokies against Clemson. His stellar play in the second half didn’t hurt either.

Allen scored 15 of his 17 points after halftime as hot-shooting Virginia Tech held off Clemson 82-81 on Sunday, sending the Tigers to their sixth straight Atlantic Coast Conference loss.

The Hokies (15-4, 4-3 ACC) shot 60.9 percent (14 of 23) in the second half and 54.7 percent overall to win for the third time in the past four games. Allen made five of his six shots - including three 3-pointers - in the final 20 minutes and had a critical steal with 90 seconds left to keep Virginia Tech out front.

“It was just a huge win because I thought it was the most together we’ve played in a long time,” said Allen, Tech’s senior point guard.

It looked like Clemson (11-8, 1-6) had seized control with an 8-2 run with fewer than 11 minutes left to lead 62-60. But Allen tied things with two foul shots, Ahmed Hill had a layin and Allen added a jumper as the Hokies took a lead they would not give up.

“Even when they took the lead, I remained calm,” Allen said. “I think that our togetherness has made us stick through the whole game.”

Hokies coach Buzz Williams thought Allen looked tired approaching the stretch. Instead, he was active on both ends of the floor, first with a steal with 90 seconds left and Virginia Tech up by four. Then with a no-doubt 3-pointer with 29.8 seconds left that put the Hokies ahead 76-71.

Clemson got within 80-78 with 5.9 seconds left on Jaron Blossomgame’s 3-pointer. But Justin Bibbs hit two foul shots to seal things.

Blossomgame and Avry Holmes had 20 points each for Clemson, whose ACC losing streak is its longest since dropping seven straight to end the 2012-13 season.

Holmes hit a 3-pointer for Clemson as time ran out to end the scoring.

Zach LeDay had 16 points and Hill had 11 for the Hokies.

THE BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies came in as one of the ACC’s best shooting teams and Clemson’s defense could not slow them down early on as they made 15 of 30 shots. Tech also had a knack for taking off whenever the Tigers got close, a trait that could serve the Hokies well as league play continues. Zach LeDay led the way for Virginia Tech, coming off the bench to score 12 points that included a 3-pointer and a three-point play.

Clemson: Tigers coach Brad Brownell bases his program on tight defense. But Clemson has struggled in that department so far this year, eighth in ACC defense overall. Adjust for only league games and the Tigers are an embarrassing 11th giving up nearly 80 points a game this season.

NOT SO FOUL SHOOTING

Virginia Tech finished hitting 16 of 17 free throws, including all nine in the second half and six straight in the final minute. “Those were all one-and-ones, too,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Not only did they make one, they made them both.”

The Hokies entered the game eighth in the 15-team ACC in foul shooting.

CLEMSON STRETCH

Tigers coach Brad Brownell has made it clear what must happen for his players to turn things around. Now, it’s up to them. Clemson has lost six straight - four of those by a combined 13 points - for its longest losing streak against ACC opponents in four seasons. “We’re going to turn it around when my guys want to turn it around,” he said.

Donte Grantham said the players met alone after a 92-60 loss at Louisville last Thursday to seek answers. “We’ve got to figure things out,” he said.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Thursday night.

Clemson travels to Pittsburgh next Saturday.

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More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org

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