CLEMSON - Maryland’s farewell tour of the Atlantic Coast Conference made its final stop in Clemson on Sunday.
It turned into a long goodbye.
The Terps and Tigers scrapped through regulation and two overtime periods before Clemson finally clawed its way to a 77-73 victory before 7,991 fans at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Demarcus Harrison hit a 3-pointer to give the hosts a 73-71 lead with 1:05 to play and four free throws down the stretch sealed the deal.
“It was a terrific win for our guys,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I thought we showed a ton of resiliency from the last eight or 10 minutes on. We got down in regulation and fought back, then had a chance to win in regulation and didn’t get it done there.
“The guys came back a little dejected after the first overtime but I stayed positive. They showed a lot of guts and courage.”
The win improves Brownell’s team to 18-10 overall and 9-7 in the ACC, while the Terps slip to 15-14, 7-9.
It also secures a first round bye for Clemson in the ACC Tournament later this month.
“It was tough early when we couldn’t get any shots to fall,” said Harrison. “But coach just told us to keep playing our game and it would happen. It’s just important that we get these last wins.”
K.J. McDaniels finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots, while Rod Hall scored 16, Landry Nnoko got 11 points to go with nine caroms, and Harrison added 10 points.
“This was big,” McDaniels said. “They’re trying to move up the standings just like we are, so we both wanted this one.”
The early going was a study in how to miss shots; after five minutes the teams were knotted at 2-2 and a combined 2-for15 from the field. Clemson was 1-of-14 to start.
The scoring pace improved slightly once the period reached the midway point of the half but Maryland still got the better of the deal, moving out front 27-18 with just 4:47 remaining before intermission.
Finally, Clemson found its shooting touch and made a run.
Hall scored two quick buckets and made a free throw to cut the deficit to 27-25. And after falling behind by six (32-26) with 2:23 showing on the clock the Tigers quickly got it all back and more - a McDaniels three, Jaron Blossomgame tip-in and Austin Ajukwa layup with 1:01 to go put the Tigers in front, 33-32.
That’s how it stood at the break, with Clemson’s shooting percentage upgraded to 37.5 percent and the Terps’ down to 28.1 percent.
“Missing shots is part of basketball,” Brownell said. “I don’t worry as much about missed shots as I do other mistakes.”
Neither team shot the lights out over the final 30 minutes but things stayed close throughout, with Seth Allen, Evan Smotrycz and Dez Wells leading the charge for the Terps.
Allen finished with 20 points, Smotrycz had 19 and Wells was good for 16.
Charles Mitchell was a force on the boards, snatching 15 rebounds to help Maryland clobber Clemson in the paint, 63-47.
“There were so many possessions it’s hard to know where to begin in this game,” Terps coach Mark Turgeon said. “I thought the last 18 minutes of the game we really rebounded well and shared the ball. We just didn’t make enough plays to win the game.”
In the end Clemson shot 35.7 percent from the field and Maryland hit 30.4 percent.
The Tigers return to action on Tuesday when Miami comes in for an 8 p.m. tip.