SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Marcquise Reed scored 22 points and made a critical steal late as Clemson survived an upset bid for a 64-62 victory over Notre Dame on Wednesday night.
Reed picked off an Irish pass in the lane with 28 seconds to go, then made two free throws two seconds later for a 62-59 Tigers’ lead.
Clemson (18-12, 8-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) sent the Fighting Irish (13-17, 3-14) to their season-high sixth straight loss.
John Mooney scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds for Notre Dame. T.J. Gibbs added 14 points and Dane Goodwin 12.
Elijah Thomas powered for 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots for the Tigers, doing the bulk of his damage in the second half. Shelton Mitchell added 11 points.
The Irish had a chance to tie with 3.1 seconds left, but freshman Nate Laszewski missed the second of two free throws to leave his team down 63-62.
Clyde Trapp then made the first of two free throws with 2 seconds to go, before Mooney’s three-quarters shot as time expired landed just short of the front iron.
Clemson: Against the laboring Irish, this was a near-must win for the Tigers as they scramble to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Clemson had lost four of its last six — albeit three of those four by a combined four points — and is just 1-7 this season against Top 25 teams. Games against Syracuse to close the regular season and a higher seed to open the ACC Tournament give the Tigers an opportunity to build on their credentials.
Notre Dame: With their loss, the Irish virtually assured themselves of not getting even an NIT bid this season. ND has only Pittsburgh left on its regular-season schedule. The Irish would need to win that game, then a stunning four more in the ACC Tournament to reach the championship round and stand a game over .500 at that point. While the NIT is not precluded from inviting sub-.500 teams, no team less than two games over .500 was extended an invite last season.
Clemson: The Tigers host Syracuse on Saturday to close their regular season in advance of next week’s ACC Tournament at Charlotte, North Carolina.
Notre Dame: The Irish visit Pittsburgh on Saturday for their regular-season finale.
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