CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Marcquise Reed knew time was running out on his final college season. He made sure his Clemson teammates knew that, too.
“We came into our practices with a sense of urgency,” Reed said.
The Tigers showed that down the stretch as Reed scored nine of career-high 31 points over the final four minutes as Clemson ended a three-game losing streak with a 76-66 win over Boston College on Saturday.
The Tigers were among the NCAA Tournament’s biggest surprises last March, advancing the Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years. With expectations high and four seniors including Reed in the starting lineup, Clemson has had its share of bumps on the road back to the postseason.
There was the 69-67 loss at North Carolina State last month when Reed missed four foul shots in the final 13 seconds with Clemson trying to seal the win. Last week, Reed’s attempt at a game-winning basket at Louisville was blocked as time expired in the Tigers 56-55 loss.
Reed understood Clemson (16-11, 6-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) could not afford another disappointing loss tied at 60 with four minutes to play.
“We thought about that a little bit,” Reed said.
Reed put Clemson ahead for good with his two foul shots, hit another jumper and then his fifth 3-pointer of the game. Reed made two more foul shots moments later and Clemson was ahead 70-60 and on the way to its eighth straight victory over the Eagles (13-13, 4-10).
Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Reed, the dynamic, 6-foot-3 senior, has always had the willingness to take over game — it’s just knowing the right moment.
Brownell said Reed took a couple of bad shots last Tuesday night that Florida State turned into points during a game-changing 15-2 run in the Seminoles 77-64 win. “But when (Reed) is going good like he was today, he’s hard to handle,” Brownell said. “He was dynamite.”
Reed surpassed his previous best of 30 points set last month in a win over Georgia Tech. He also had nine rebounds, five of Clemson’s eight steals and four assists.
Elijah Thomas had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth game this year with double figure points and rebounds.
Jairus Hamilton and Ky Bowman led the Eagles with 17 points. Bowman, the ACC’s third leading scorer, had four 3-pointers on 6-of-21 shooting overall.
Boston College coach Jim Christian said the Eagles played strongly in getting to the end tied with Clemson. “Our defensive coaching needs to take over in that stretch. It doesn’t, though,” Christian said. “We fouled them, gave them offensive rebounds.”
Boston College: The Eagles fell to 1-7 in ACC road games, coming close again but failing to close things out. They came up short at North Carolina State last Wednesday night in falling 89-80 in overtime.
Clemson: The Tigers need a strong finish to ACC play. Beating Boston College was a solid start, although they have plenty of concerning games left down the stretch if they hope to return to the NCAA Tournament. Clemson has home games remaining with North Carolina and Syracuse along with road games against Pitt and Notre dame.
Marcquise Reed had his 10th game this season with six or more rebounds. Those include a career-high 13 in a win over The Citadel to start the season. Reed also picked up 12 rebounds in the loss at Louisville.
BC’s CLOSE CALLS
Boston College coach Jim Christian is mindful of his team’s emotional state given how hard they’ve fought in road losses at North Carolina State and Clemson the past two games. The Eagles had a final shot to win in regulation at the Wolfpack before falling in overtime, 89-80. “I’m proud of what these guys are doing,” Christian said. “But yeah, I’ve got to think about” their state of mind after the hard-fought defeats.
Boston College plays No. 18 Louisville on Wednesday night.
Clemson travels to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
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