Clemson made 3-pointers early against No. 22 Florida State. The Seminoles made them all game.
Andre Young and K.J. McDaniels both scored 16 points and Devin Booker had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson, but the Tigers lost 80-72 when they couldn't overcome Florida State's 11-of-19 effort from beyond the 3-point arc.
Clemson (16-14, 8-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) managed four 3-pointers in the first half while the Seminoles were 8 of 11 from long range in taking a 49-33 halftime lead.
"For whatever reason, defensively I thought we were awful in the first half," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "Some of that was because of them — they were really ready to play. When you make shots like that, the momentum really starts to build. It was difficult for us."
The Tigers had won three straight games and five of six, but never led after Florida State's Bernard James made a layup with 17:53 left in the first half.
They trailed by as many as 16 points, 56-40 with 14:36 left, and were still down by 10 with 3:38 to go. But the Tigers went on a late 10-1 run, with McDaniels' two free throws cutting Florida State's lead to 75-72 with 30 seconds left.
"We dodged a bullet," said Florida State's Michael Snaer, who had a career-high 23 points. Snaer made two free throws with 28 seconds left and Luke Loucks added three free throws over the final 18 seconds to seal the win for the Seminoles (21-9, 12-4), who finished third in the ACC behind No. 6 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke.
"Our guys did a great job of battling back and gave ourselves a chance but we were just too far behind against a good team," Brownell said.
The Tigers, who shot 41.1 percent from the field (30 of 73), have played some of their best basketball down the stretch. The Tigers were 3-6 in the ACC after a 64-62 loss to Maryland, but have won five of seven games going into the conference tournament that starts Thursday in Atlanta.
"I'm proud of the way our guys have hung in there and finished it," Brownell said.
The 5-foot-9 Young, who is from Albany, Ga., about 90 miles from Tallahassee, kept Clemson in the game with 11 points in the first half, but was just 2 of 7 in the second half.
"At times he looks out of place because he's so small," Brownell said. "But he's crafty, he's smart, he's tough, he can shoot. He's a battler."
Tanner Smith appeared to hit his head on the court in the second half, and Brownell said after the game that the guard is "not great right now." No other information was immediately available about his condition.