The Clemson Tigers traveled to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Big Ten ACC Challenge. In a thrilling matchup between two schools looking to rise in their respective conferences, Richard Pitino's squad got the better of Clemson on the night, 89-83.
The Tigers got on the board first when Jordan Roper made a three pointer. After a Joey King shot was good for the Gophers, Roper hit another three to extend the lead. The Gophers than went on a small run, as they tied the game, but the Tigers pulled ahead, and held a lead for most of the half.
The biggest lead for Clemson was 10 points, which they accomplished with 3:25 left in the half. The Gophers were able to fight back, and trimmed it to an eight point Clemson lead when the first half ended.
In the second half, the Gophers came out on a run, and quickly tied the game within the first four minutes. From that point, it was a see-saw game, as neither team was able to get a very large lead for very long.
The Gophers took the lead with 11 minutes left in the half when freshman Jordan Murphy pulled down the offensive rebound and put it back with authority, as he drew the foul, and made the subsequent free throw to give the Gophers the 58-56 lead.
The Gophers extended their lead to 62-56, but the Tigers refused to quit, as they kept the score close enough to give them hope. Minnesota held a 64-61 lead at the third media timeout, then extended that lead to four when Murphy made two free throws after the break.
Clemson took a timeout with 6:30 left in the half, then went on a mini run of their own that ended with the Tigers within two points with under five and a half minutes left. That was the closest that the Tigers would get, as every time that the Tigers got close, the Gophers would power through and extend their lead. Despite this, Minnesota was unable to close the door on the Tigers, and needed to take a timeout with under 40 seconds left in the half with just a seven point lead.
Coming out of the timeout, Clemson had the ball under their own basket, drew a foul, which sent Roper to the line for two free throws. He drilled both to lower the lead to just five. Clemson committed a foul immediately after the Gophers inbounded the ball, which sent the Gophers to the free throw line. Kevin Dorsey made the first one, but not the second.
The Gophers finally sealed the game when they got a steal, which led to Charles Buggs slamming one massive dunk home to make it an eight point lead. Clemson also turned the ball over on the next possession, which secured the win for Minnesota.
Minnesota needed a win following a poor showing at the Puerto Rico Classic, and a narrow win over the University of Omaha over the past weekend.
Minnesota is going to stay at home and invite a sneaky South Dakota Coyotes team into The Barn, while Clemson gets an easier test against 1-7 South Carolina Upstate on Wednesday.