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Clemson tops Virginia Tech, grabs share of ACC lead

Jan 4, 2023; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Chase Hunter (1) drives to basket between Virginia Tech Hokies guard Sean Pedulla (3) and forward Grant Basile (21)  in the first halfat Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Hunter scored six of his 12 points in the final 2:45 as Clemson continued its surprise start to the Atlantic Coast Conference season with a 68-65 victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday in Blacksburg, Va.

Hunter Tyson scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half and grabbed 14 rebounds as Clemson (12-3, 4-0 ACC) moved into a tie for first place in the conference with another surprise team, Pitt.

PJ Hall added 13 points, Brevin Galloway scored 11 points and freshman RJ Godfrey tallied a career-high 10 points and grabbed six rebounds as the Tigers won their fourth straight. The last time Clemson opened league play with a 4-0 mark was the 1996-97 season.

It was the third straight loss for Virginia Tech (11-4, 1-3), which was led by Grant Basile, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and had seven rebounds. Sean Pedulla contributed 14 points, Justyn Mutts added 11 points and nine rebounds, and Darius Maddox had 11 points.

Virginia Tech was without starting guard Hunter Cattoor (arm injury) for the second straight game.

The Hokies scored nine straight points to take a 58-57 lead with four minutes to go. But Hall followed with a fadeaway jumper to regain the lead for good for Clemson.

Hunter followed with two free throws and then made a steal and raced for a breakaway dunk that put the Tigers up 63-58 with 2:27 left.

In the final 26 seconds, Hunter and Tyson each hit a pair of free throws to keep Clemson in command.

Pedulla made a 3-pointer with 10.7 seconds left to pull Virginia Tech close, but his 3-point try in the final seconds was off the mark.

Midway through the first half, Godfrey came off the bench to score seven points in a span of 2:15 as Clemson gained a 19-11 lead.

Over the final five minutes of the period, Virginia Tech held Clemson scoreless while reeling off nine straight points, six from Maddox and a 3-pointer from Basile, as the Hokies grabbed a 32-29 lead at the break.

Clemson trailed by five points early in the second half before Tyson heated up. His back-to-back 3-pointers tied it 47-47 with 12:47 left. A 3-pointer by Godfrey gave the Tigers the lead with 11:22 to play.

–Field Level Media