Virginia Men 64
-- Virginia continued to move closer to missing the NCAA tournament with a 73-64 loss to Clemson tonight, its third loss in a row.
Tormented throughout by Clemson guard Edward Scott, the Cavaliers sank to sixth in the ACC as the Tigers (14-8, 4-7 ACC) won for the third time in 37 conference road games and the first time in six years at University Hall.
Virginia (14-10, 5-7) will need to win three of its remaining four ACC games -- on the road against Wake Forest and Florida State and at home against Georgia Tech and Maryland -- to finish with an 8-8 conference record, a good barometer for making the NCAA tournament.
Scott, a 6-foot senior, scored a season-high 32 points to help Clemson break a string of 10 straight ACC road losses. Chey Christie scored 16, including 14 in the first half, and Tomas Nagys added 11.
Virginia's Devin Smith also set a season best with 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 6 of 11 three-pointers. But his teammates made just 11 of 43 field goal attempts and allowed the Tigers to grab 20 offensive rebounds.
"Sometimes we're just watching the ball instead of finding somebody and boxing out," said Smith, a sophomore in his first year since transferring from junior college.
Clemson finished with an 18-8 advantage on second-chance points and scored 19 points off 14 Virginia turnovers. Junior guard Todd Billet, who got stitches and returned to the game after getting hit in the forehead with a minute left in the first half, committed six of those turnovers and scored three points on 1-of-9 shooting in 33 minutes.
"Teams are coming after us more at the point guard spot," said Coach Pete Gillen, who levied an indefinite suspension on starting point guard Keith Jenifer two weeks ago. "We've got to make some adjustments, see what we have to do. They're putting pressure on us and we're having trouble scoring. That's one of the problems. Some of our guys are just not playing their best basketball right now."
The Cavaliers trailed 59-46 after Clemson's Sharrod Ford (Gwynn Park) hit a jump hook with 7 minutes 15 seconds remaining, but they charged back and cut the deficit to 60-56 when Billet made his only field goal, a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Scott answered after a timeout with a deep three-pointer with three seconds left on the shot clock. Smith came right back with another three, then made a pair of free throws after Christie hit a leaner. At the final officials' timeout with 2:40 left, Clemson led 65-61.
Virginia forced Christie to miss a short jumper on the next possession, but Nagys grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made one of two free throws. Nagys returned the favor with two minutes left, fouling Travis Watson, who also converted 1 of 2 from the line to cut it to 66-62.
Jason Clark's baseline dunk was answered immediately by Scott, who drove for a short bank shot that pushed Clemson's lead back to 70-64 with 63 seconds remaining. Virginia needed three-pointers and found none.