West Virginia and Clemson will have something in common when the two programs clash in the third-place game of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic on Sunday in Charleston, S.C.
Both are seeking redemption after squandering double-digit halftime leads in Friday’s tournament semifinals.
The Mountaineers (3-1) led Marquette by 12 at halftime Friday night before being blitzed in the second half of an 82-71 defeat.
The Tigers (4-1) led No. 22 St. Bonaventure 36-26 at halftime but saw that lead steadily melt as the Bonnies pulled out a 68-65 victory in the second game of the day.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was angry about his defense, asking afterward, “How many times did they drive it to the goal and one of our guys moved to stop him and the rest of our guys stood and looked?”
Lackadaisical defense helped Marquette shoot 64 percent overall and 61.5 percent from 3-point range during the second half.
Huggins also lamented, “Every game we’ve had this year we’ve come out and played pretty well in the first half and then came out flat as can be in the second half.”
The Mountaineers outscored Elon by 12 in the second half of an 87-68 first-round victory in the tournament, but did grind out earlier wins despite lackluster second halves against Oakland and rival Pittsburgh.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell tried to look at the bright side, hoping that his team can take some lessons that will help the Tigers down the road.
“You’re playing against an NCAA Tournament team in an environment that feels like a road game,” he said of the Bonnies, who also were in the NCAAs a year ago. “You’ve got to make plays to beat them. You’ve got to execute. Hopefully, we learned from it and hopefully it makes us better, smarter, tougher.
“We didn’t make a couple of plays we needed to make if we’re going to beat a team of this caliber.”
Clemson must do a better job of defending the perimeter after allowing St. Bonaventure to shoot 58.3 percent (14 of 24) from beyond the arc.
–Field Level Media