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Clemson holds off Nebraska 60-58

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson coach Brad Brownell was pleased his team finally did well in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. He was also happy to beef up the Tigers early season resume for when decisions are made in March.

Jaron Blossomgame scored 15 points, Donte Grantham had a tiebreaking free throw and the Tigers held on despite a wild final stretch for a 60-58 win over Nebraska on Wednesday night.

The Tigers (4-2) won a challenge game for the first time defeating Iowa in 2011, a season after they made their last appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

''It's good. It builds momentum. It helps in terms RPI against a team that's going to have a good RPI in their league,'' Brownell said. ''It gets you going in a good direction. That's important for us right now.''

It looked for a while that Clemson would succumb to Nebraska's deliberate pace designed to make the Tigers work extremely hard on defense and wear down at the end. Instead, Clemson dug in as it overcame a nine-point deficit and led 58-54 on Grantham's 3-pointer with 3:16 to go.

But the Cornhuskers (4-3) tied it up at 58-all on Glynn Watson Jr.'s 3 two minutes later. Grantham followed by making the front end of a one-and-one that put the Tigers up for good. Nebraska, though, had several chances to pull this one out.

Watson missed two jumpers and Anton Gill missed an open shot before turning the ball over. After Avry Holmes hit a foul shot for the final margin with 5 seconds left, Tai Webster failed on a runner in the lane that hit the rim and bounced away.

''Tai got in there on a little bit of an awkward, tough two,'' Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. ''He sat it on the rim, it just didn't go in.''

Grantham finished with nine points and five rebounds for Clemson.

Watson had a game-high 20 points and Webster scored 12. Ed Morrow had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Nebraska.

THE BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers showed speed, quick hands and a solid shooting touch in building a nine-point lead in the first half. What Nebraska did not display was a strong front-court game and it cost them in the second half. Its tallest players in 6-foot-11 Jordy Tshimanga and 6-8 Jack McVeigh had little impact early on with two shots combined. They ended 1 of 3 from the field for three points.

Clemson: The Tigers pledged a stronger early season performance to help build an NCAA resume. So far, it hasn't worked out that way. Clemson lost to Xavier and Oklahoma in an Orlando, Florida, tournament. The Tigers also went back to their shooting struggles, going 8 of 25 from the field in the first 20 minutes and making just two of their nine 3-pointers. Things picked up after halftime, as they hit 5-of-6 shots from behind the arc to hold off Nebraska.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

Clemson guard Avry Holmes said the Tigers struggled to make shots and turned to their defense to pull the game out. It worked as Clemson held Nebraska to just five baskets in their last 24 attempts. ''We tried to win defensively and stopped worrying about our offense,'' he said. ''It was good to see.''

IT'S DABO

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney was in the crowd watching the late-night showcase. He played a time-out game where he was challenged to make a face like the toothy emoji on the big screen scoreboard. When his first-half TV interview was wrapping up, Clemson hit a 3-pointer and Swinney said, ''I need to stay here. We just hit a three.''

The football Tigers head to Orlando, Florida this week to play Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game on Saturday night.

UP NEXT

Nebraska starts a two-game homestand on Saturday against South Dakota.

Clemson continues its run of five in a row at home against Coppin State on Sunday.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Clemson 0.0
  Tai Webster missed jump shot 0.0
  Personal foul on Donte Grantham 5.0
+ 1 Avry Holmes made 2nd of 2 free throws 5.0
  Avry Holmes missed 1st of 2 free throws 5.0
  Personal foul on Tai Webster 5.0
  Offensive foul turnover on Anton Gill 4.0
  Offensive rebound by Anton Gill 7.0
  Glynn Watson Jr. missed layup 4.0
  Offensive foul turnover on Donte Grantham 4.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 13.0
Team Stats
Points 58 60
Field Goals 25-63 (39.7%) 18-49 (36.7%)
3-Pointers 4-18 (22.2%) 7-15 (46.7%)
Free Throws 4-7 (57.1%) 17-22 (77.3%)
Total Rebounds 42 34
Offensive 14 8
Defensive 24 22
Team 4 4
Assists 6 7
Steals 9 8
Blocks 5 7
Turnovers 16 17
Fouls 20 10
Technicals 0 0
20 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
15 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo Nebraska 4-3 312758
home team logo Clemson 4-2 273360
Team Stats
away team logo Nebraska 4-3 71.6 PPG 38.4 RPG 12.7 APG
home team logo Clemson 4-2 69.2 PPG 38.3 RPG 12.2 APG
Key Players
5
G. Watson Jr. G 13.4 PPG 4.0 RPG 3.0 APG 41.4 FG%
00
J. Blossomgame F PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
G. Watson Jr. G 20 PTS 6 REB 4 AST
J. Blossomgame F 15 PTS 4 REB 2 AST
39.7 FG% 36.7
22.2 3PT FG% 46.7
57.1 FT% 77.3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Watson Jr. 20 6 4 9/19 2/5 0/0 1 36 4 0 5 1 5
T. Webster 12 4 1 5/14 1/5 1/3 4 36 2 0 2 0 4
M. Jacobson 11 7 0 5/9 1/3 0/0 3 32 1 1 1 2 5
E. Morrow 10 12 0 4/10 0/0 2/2 2 31 1 3 3 7 5
J. McVeigh 0 3 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 23 0 0 1 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
G. Watson Jr. 20 6 4 9/19 2/5 0/0 1 36 4 0 5 1 5
T. Webster 12 4 1 5/14 1/5 1/3 4 36 2 0 2 0 4
M. Jacobson 11 7 0 5/9 1/3 0/0 3 32 1 1 1 2 5
E. Morrow 10 12 0 4/10 0/0 2/2 2 31 1 3 3 7 5
J. McVeigh 0 3 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 23 0 0 1 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Tshimanga 3 3 0 1/1 0/0 1/2 4 9 0 0 0 1 2
E. Taylor 2 0 0 1/4 0/1 0/0 3 10 0 0 1 0 0
A. Gill 0 1 1 0/4 0/2 0/0 3 15 1 0 2 1 0
I. Roby 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 8 0 1 1 1 1
N. Fuller - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Laws - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Horne - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Shultis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 58 38 6 25/63 4/18 4/7 20 200 9 5 16 14 24
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Blossomgame 15 4 2 5/13 0/2 5/7 1 35 1 3 1 0 4
G. DeVoe 9 5 2 3/10 1/4 2/3 0 26 2 0 3 1 4
D. Grantham 9 5 0 3/7 2/3 1/2 3 29 1 1 3 1 4
A. Holmes 7 3 0 2/5 2/3 1/2 0 30 1 0 2 1 2
S. Djitte 6 9 3 2/7 0/0 2/2 5 33 1 2 3 5 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Blossomgame 15 4 2 5/13 0/2 5/7 1 35 1 3 1 0 4
G. DeVoe 9 5 2 3/10 1/4 2/3 0 26 2 0 3 1 4
D. Grantham 9 5 0 3/7 2/3 1/2 3 29 1 1 3 1 4
A. Holmes 7 3 0 2/5 2/3 1/2 0 30 1 0 2 1 2
S. Djitte 6 9 3 2/7 0/0 2/2 5 33 1 2 3 5 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Mitchell 7 1 0 2/6 1/2 2/2 0 27 2 1 2 0 1
M. Reed 7 2 0 1/1 1/1 4/4 0 15 0 0 3 0 2
L. Robertin 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 5 0 0 0 0 1
R. McGillan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Davis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Hudson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Fields - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Spencer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 60 30 7 18/49 7/15 17/22 10 200 8 7 17 8 22