CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Kyle Guy had 13 points, De’Andre Hunter scored 12 and No. 4 Virginia improved to 15-0 with a 63-43 victory over Clemson on Saturday.
Clemson started the day with a national championship football parade and celebration just a few steps away at Death Valley. The basketball Tigers (10-6, 0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) had hoped to add to the good feelings with their first win over Virginia since 2012.
Instead, the Cavaliers turned up their trademark defense to make it a long afternoon for Clemson and maintain their run as the ACC’s only undefeated squad at 3-0.
The Tigers cut a double-digit lead to 29-27 on Marcquise Reed’s basket early in the second half. Virginia, though, followed with an 18-5 run where it made five 3-pointers to restore the lead and cruise to its ninth straight victory over the Clemson.
Virginia’s defense and Guy put Clemson in a large, early hole. Guy came in leading the Cavs at more than 15 points a game and scored 13 of the team’s first 21 points off three 3-pointers.
The Cavaliers lead the country with 51.8 points allowed a game this season, and they smothered the Tigers early. Clemson missed 14 of its first 15 shots to fall behind 15-4.
Clemson finally got going and cut it to 27-21 at halftime after a basket by Elijah Thomas and two foul shots by Reed in the final minute. The Tigers couldn’t sustain the momentum into the second half.
Clemson started 0-3 in ACC play for the first time since losing its first five league games in 1999-2000.
Reed was Clemson’s only double-figure scorer with 14 points, but he shot just 3 of 14 from the field and missed his five 3-point attempts.
THE BIG PICTURE
Virginia: The Cavaliers are steady, relentless and precise on both sides of the ball. Ty Jerome, a double-digit scorer, had not made a field goal in the opening half, yet hit two critical 3s in Virginia’s decisive run in the second half. He finished with eight points.
Clemson: The Tigers have lost three straight ACC games, and each time they struggled to score early. They trailed Duke 40-33 at the break and lost 87-68, then were down 40-32 at Syracuse in a 61-53 loss. In this one, Clemson trailed by 12 points in the first half and, despite cutting things to 29-27 early in second, could not stay close.
Virginia hosts No. 9 Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.
Clemson is home against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.