CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Avry Holmes just felt he needed to stop worrying and just shoot when he buried three 3-pointers in the final 93 seconds of the first half to push Clemson to an 82-68 win over Boston College on Saturday.
The senior point guard thinks that same philosophy could propel the disappointing Tigers (16-14, 6-12 Atlantic Coast) to an unprecedented five wins in five days to win the ACC tournament next week after tumbling off the NCAA tournament bubble.
“We just want to play and stop worrying. Us stressing about how close we were - just stressed everyone out,” said Holmes, who finished with 17 points and added a career-best 10 rebounds.
Jaron Blossomgame added 17 points for Clemson in his last game at Littlejohn Coliseum.
After a sluggish start, Clemson finished the first half with 11 straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Holmes.
“In the last four minutes we just fell apart,” said Boston College coach Jim Christian, whose team hasn’t won since Jan. 11.
Then after Clemson’s 21-point second half lead dwindled to 66-54 with less than six minutes to go, Holmes hit a 3-pointer to end the Boston College (9-22, 2-16) run. The senior went 5 for 8 from behind the arc on senior day.
Jordan Chatman led Boston College with 17 points, while Jerome Robinson - the ACC’s fourth leading scorer at 19 points a game - had nine points, four rebounds and five assists before fouling out.
Both teams were locked into playing on the first day of the ACC tournament before the game started.
Clemson’s two-game winning streak might give it some momentum, critical when even a miracle trip to the ACC final might not be enough to get back on the bubble. But since the league expanded to a five-day tournament in 2014, no one who won on the opening day has gone on to another victory on Day 2.
“I’m not worried about all of that yet,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “If we play good Tuesday, we’re going to play on Wednesday. But you have to get you head right for Tuesday.”
Boston College: Boston College hasn’t lost a game by less than eight points since the end of January. The less-than-capacity crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum meant the Eagles have played in front of a crown over 10,000 people only once at home or on the road this season (21,626 at Syracuse).
Clemson: The Tigers biggest ACC win the season was a relief for a team that hasn’t been successful sweating things out. Clemson is 1-8 in league games decided by six points or less. The Tigers shot 54.5 percent Saturday, their best shooting day in the ACC in 2017. Saturday’s victory was Clemson’s largest in the ACC this season.
BOTTOM BOSTON COLLEGE
A 14-game losing streak and last place ACC finish normally wouldn’t be encouraging, but Boston College went 0-18 in the ACC last year and Christian sees a bright future for a team that started two freshman, two sophomores and a senior in the final game of the regular season.
“Anybody would tell you we’ve improved a lot. We’re just a couple of pieces away. You don’t build these things overnight,” said Christian, in his third season with the Eagles.
Even after a 14-point win, the biggest story line of Clemson’s season kept coming up. Brownell noted he thinks the Tigers finished strong, even with a pair of one-point and a pair of two-point losses in their final eight games,
“I’m proud of our team for sticking through a very hard season. Obviously, a year when we’ve been punched in the gut several times,” Brownell said.
Boston College: The Eagles are the 15th seed in the ACC tournament and will take on No. 10 Wake Forest on Tuesday afternoon.
Clemson: The Tigers are the 12th seed in the ACC tournament and open play in Brooklyn against North Carolina State at noon Tuesday.
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