Cavs Rally Past Clemson In ACC Tournament Play-in Game
March 11, 2004
By AARON BEARD
Associated Press Writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Virginia snapped an eight-game tournament losingstreak Thursday night, beating Clemson 83-79 in overtime in the first round ofthe Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Todd Billet scored 20 points, Elton Brown added 19, J.R. Reynolds and DevinSmith each hit key 3-pointers in the extra period for the eighth-seededCavaliers (17-11). Virginia hadn’t won a tournament game since beating GeorgiaTech in the 1995 quarterfinals.
Virginia advanced to face top-seeded Duke in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Vernon Hamilton scored 19 points to lead the ninth-seeded Tigers (10-18).
Virginia swept the season series, but the Cavaliers couldn’t keep the Tigersfrom outrebounding them for the third straight meeting. The Tigers had a 42-32edge, including 14-6 on the offensive boards, and scored 15 second-chancepoints.
Virginia rallied late in regulation, erasing an eight-point deficit in the final three minutes to force overtime. Once there, Reynolds and Smith camethrough.
With his team trailing 71-69, Smith grabbed an offensive rebound of a missby Brown. He passed to Reynolds, who knocked down the straightaway 3 to put theCavaliers ahead to stay with 1:42 left.
On the next possession, Smith took a pass from Billet and hit a 3 from theleft wing for a 75-71 lead with 57 seconds left.
Virginia also turned up the defensive pressure late, forcing three straightturnovers to set up those 3s.
The Tigers had a chance to tie it. After Smith’s free throw pushed the leadto 81-78 with 6.8 seconds left, Hamilton was sent to the line with 2.9 secondsto play. He made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, butReynolds came down with the rebound.
Reynolds added two free throws to seal it with 2.4 seconds left. He finishedwith 18 points.