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The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Clemson squeaks by UAB 77-76 after PJ Hall pours in 27 points

Jonathan Miller
UAB Guard Eric Gaines shoots three-pointer in the corner.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Clemson Tigers defeated the UAB Blazers 77-76 on Friday night to advance to the Asheville Championship final.

The Blazers entered Friday’s matchup with a 2-1 all-time record against Clemson.

The Tigers opened up as 7 point favorites after defeating Winthrop earlier in the week. Meanwhile, UAB were coming off of 73-71  loss against Bradley.

The game started off tight as both teams shot 50% from the field entering the first media timeout. Clemson forward PJ Hall was firing on all cylinders as he scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Both teams continued to score in the first half as they combined for 81 total points. After a three-pointer from UAB guard Eric Gaines, the Blazers found themselves up 42-39 heading into halftime.

“I wanna give UAB a lot of credit. Andy has kids ready and they played really well. They are a hard team to play against,” said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell.

The Blazers came out on fire in the second half as they did not miss a single shot in the first four minutes. After being down by as much as 9 points, Clemson forward Ian Schieffelin and PJ Hall led a 14-0 run to give the Tigers a 72-67 lead heading into the final media timeout.

“The biggest thing was to stay calm,” said Clemson senior forward PJ Hall. “It was complete team effort with the comeback in the second half.”

After the timeout, Eric Gaines led a 6-0 run giving the Blazers a one point lead with 47.2 seconds remaining.

As the seconds ticked away, PJ Hall responded with a crowd-erupting and-one bucket. Seconds later, UAB guard Efrem Johnson hit a corner three-pointer to gain the lead once again.

With 3.4 seconds, Chase Hunter hit two free throws to give Clemson the lead back. After a half-court miss by Eric Gaines, Clemson reigned victorious.

Meanwhile, UAB have now lost two straight games by two points or less.

“Obviously you wanna grow and learn, that’s why you play to tournaments such as this against quality opponents. You’d certainly like to win as your doing it but unfortunately for us we haven’t put ourselves in a position to be one possession better in two straight games. As a result, we are sitting here without a win,” said UAB head men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy.

Clemson will face Davidson on Sunday for the Asheville Championship final.

“We’re going to try to enjoy this, at least for a couple hours. First thing in the morning, we will certainly be onto Davidson,” Brownell said.

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