Pflueger’s 18 lead Notre Dame to 61-57 win at Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. — Rex Pflueger had 18 points, and John Mooney had 16 points and 11 rebounds as Notre Dame won its fourth straight with a 61-57 victory over Clemson on Sunday night.
The Fighting Irish (15-8, 6-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from seven points down in the second half to send Clemson (11-12, 5-8) to its third straight defeat.
With the game tied at 50, T.J. Gibbs put Notre Dame ahead for good with floater in the lane with 3:44 to go. Pflueger increased the lead with a bucket the next time down and then clinched things with a 3-pointer with 1:07 to play as the Fighting Irish went ahead 57-52.
Clemson could not respond.
Mooney, the ACC’s rebounding leader, had his 19th double-double this season.
Mooney also had a critical four-point play with the game tied at 43 with 5:44 left that put Notre Dame ahead for the first time in the second half.
Clemson freshman Alex Hemenway scored seven straight points to tie it a final time before the Fighting Irish took control.
Hemenway had a career-high 16 points. Tevin Mack also had 16 to lead the Tigers.
Clemson played without leading scorer Aamir Simms who missed the game due to the flu.
Clemson, which had scored only scored 44 points in each of two losses, continued to struggle at the start as it made just three of its opening 14 shots to fall behind the Fighting Irish 14-7 midway through the opening period.
But the Tigers found some offense on the outside from Hemenway and on the inside from Mack.
Hemenway had a pair of 3-pointers during Clemson’s 13-5 surge, the second put his team up for the first first time, 20-19.
Mack closed the half with a pair of foul shots and layup and, after Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin made two free throws, Hemenway found 7-foot sophomore Trey Jemison for a short jumper that put the Tigers up 29-27 at the break.
Notre Dame missed six of its final eight shots in the first half.
THE BIG PICTURE
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish continue their late push to make a mark on the ACC. Mooney and Pflueger are a strong 1-2 duo who combined to make seven of Notre Dame’s 10 3-pointers.
Clemson: The Tigers once again settled for long 3-pointers too often, making just 9 of 34 from behind the arc. They missed 3 of 4 shots after cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 54-52.
Notre Dame goes to defending national champion Virginia on Tuesday night.
Clemson plays at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. ___
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