Patrick McCaffery scored a team-high 21 points as No. 25 Iowa held off a furious rally by Clemson to win 74-71 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla.
Iowa (5-0) will move on to the championship game on Saturday against the winner of the Cal-TCU game later Friday night. Clemson (4-2) will face the Golden Bears-Horned Frogs loser in a consolation matchup.
After trailing by 14 with just under eight minutes to play, Clemson battled back to tie it up at 64-64 with 2:54 remaining. The Hawkeyes went back in front and led 68-65 after a layup by Filip Rebraca with 35 seconds to go.
The Tigers had a chance to tie it up with under 30 seconds left, but Brevin Galloway’s 3-point shot rimmed out.
Tony Perkins sank a pair of free throws to make it 70-65, but Chase Hunter’s trey pulled the Tigers back to within 72-71 with under five seconds remaining. Perkins sank two more foul shots (making him 6-for-6 at the line in the final 20 seconds) with 1.5 seconds left to seal the win for Iowa.
Nine of Perkins’ 11 points came from the charity stripe.
Clemson held red-hot Kris Murray to just 10 points and 0-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc, but it wasn’t enough as McCaffery picked up the slack, going 7-for-14 from the field. Murray grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Hunter led the Tigers with 21 points, hitting on 2 of 5 from long distance while adding six assists. Hunter Tyson ended the night with 13 points, pulling down eight rebounds in the losing effort. Beadle added eight points off the bench as the Tigers’ three-game win streak came to a halt.
Iowa was held to a season-low 38.3 percent shooting, and the Hawkeyes made only 4 of 19 attempts from 3-point range (21.1 percent).
After starting the game 1-for-7 from the field, Clemson shot 40.6 percent on the night and 30.8 percent (8-for-26) from deep.
Despite Hunter being limited to just 10 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Clemson was able to keep it close, trailing just 34-27 at the break. Redshirt freshman Josh Beadle helped keep Clemson in it with six points off the bench in place of Hunter.
McCaffery would score five consecutive points coming out of the half, though, pushing the Iowa lead to 39-27. The Tigers would immediately respond by going on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to four at 41-37, fueled by two Tyson 3-point shots.
The Hawkeyes would quickly push the lead back out to double digits at 51-41 with 12:44 to play. Iowa would then amp up the defensive pressure, holding the Tigers without a bucket for more than three minutes, while pushing the lead to 60-46 with 7:58 remaining in the game.
–Field Level Media