The Clemson Tigers were soundly defeated by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday to the tune of 101-63. The loss was Clemson’s largest margin of defeat this season and dropped the Tigers to 5-3 in ACC play and 14-7 overall.
After Destiny Thomas scored on the first possession of the game, Notre Dame opened up an 18-0 run, scoring in a myriad of ways. The Irish were able to get to the free throw line, create layups and knock down jump shots. The Tigers were able to go on a decent run to close out the first quarter, including six points chipped in by center Kobi Thornton and Simone Westbrook scoring back-to-back layups after consecutive steals. Heading into the second quarter, the Tigers trailed 32-18.
Clemson started gaining serious momentum in the second quarter, closing the deficit all the way down to seven points with just two minutes remaining in the half thanks to a 9-0 run. Aliyah Collier was tremendous coming off the bench and lead the team with a new season-high in points with 22. Notre Dame finished the first half with five unanswered points, however, making the score 49-37 at half.
The Irish absolutely took over the third quarter and practically put the game out of reach, putting up 34 points in the quarter. Many of these points came as results of turnovers by the Tigers, who committed 10 turnovers in just the third quarter alone. Notre Dame is one of the best teams in the country, and their defense is a major reason why.
In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame scored 18 points to Clemson’s 12, firmly holding on the lead throughout the second half.
For the game, Clemson shot 44% from the field and 35% from beyond the three-point arch. These numbers are respectable, but when playing a team like Notre Dame, the margin of error becomes razor thin. In those moments, committing 28 turnovers and allowing the Irish to shoot 29 free throws compared to just five from the Tigers will almost assuredly spell defeat.
Despite the ugly loss, the Tigers are still in contention in the ACC and should continue to vie for a spot in the top-25 in the weeks to come.
The Tigers will look to bounce back in perhaps their biggest game of the season: a home matchup against #3 Louisville on Saturday at 2:00pm.