Mar 28, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; The Clemson Tigers celebrate after defeating the Arizona Wildcats in the semifinals of the West Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Upsets Arizona 77-72 In Sweet Sixteen

In the opening game of the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen, 6-seed Clemson continued its tournament run, knocking off 2-seed Arizona 77-72. Clemson advanced to its second Elite Eight in program history, with their last appearance coming in 1980.

Survive And Advance

Aside from a brief scare midway through the second half, Clemson led for most of the game. Senior guard Chase Hunter led the way once again, scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting while also recording seven rebounds and five assists. He’s been a huge part of the Tigers’ run and has become one of the tournament’s breakout stars.

Senior center PJ Hall also had an excellent showing, putting up 17 points and eight rebounds.

Arizona, Tommy Lloyd Fall Short

Despite plenty of regular season success at the helm, a common criticism of Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd is his lack of tournament success so far. His team faltered in March once again, shooting only 25-67 (37.3%) from the field and an abysmal 5-28 (17.9%) from 3-point range.

Sophomore guard Jaden Bradley led the Wildcats in scoring, putting up 18 points off of the bench. Senior center Oumar Ballo recorded a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds on 7-10 shooting; however, he went 1-7 from the free throw line.

Is Clemson A Cinderella?

At first glance, it would appear odd to label the Tigers a Cinderella team, considering their seed. However, that isn’t the full story. After losing three of their last four games entering the tournament, Clemson was a betting underdog to its first round opponent, Mountain West champion New Mexico, despite being the higher-seeded team. After defeating the Lobos, the Tigers were even larger underdogs in their next two games against Baylor and Arizona. Not many expected this run, and now the question is how far can they take it?

The Road Ahead

Clemson (24-11) will take on 4-seed Alabama (23-11) Saturday with a spot in the Final Four on the line.

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