NICEVILLE, FLA. – Guard Tony Perkins scored eight points in the final 1:35, including the go-ahead basket, as No. 25 ranked Iowa escaped Clemson, 74-71, Friday night to advance to the championship of the Emerald Coast Classic.
Iowa, making its second appearance in the tournament, improved to 5-0 on the season. Clemson fell to 4-2.
“I think that’s what these tournaments are for, to play really good times like Clemson,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “Clemson is well-coached, deep, physical and quick and gives both teams the opportunity to find something out about yourself.
“They made some big shots down the stretch, so did we. We executed for the most part and didn’t a couple of times on both ends, and that’s what helps you get better. Overall, I was very pleased that we were able to maintain our composure and get the win.”
Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery tied a career-high 21 points — a total that he has amassed in back to back contests. He scored 10 of Iowa’s first 15 points of the first half and nine of Iowa’s first 11 points of the second half.
“It didn’t go exactly the way we planned down the stretch but that’s why you play the game,” said Patrick McCaffery. “You live for those competitive, high intensity moments at the end in this type of environment. Our fans showed up and it was a lot of fun. That was a really good team we just beat. They have a lot of good players and are well-coached.”
Forward Kris Murray enjoyed his third career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Guard Chase Hunter scored a team-high 21 points for Clemson, including 14 in the second half.
Perkins’ short jump in the paint with 1:35 left broke a 64-64 tie.
He sealed the victory by sinking six free throws in the final 20 seconds. Perkins returned to the lineup and scored all 11 of his points over the final 12 minutes of the game, while going. 9-of-10 from the foul line
“That’s just who he (Perkins) is,” Coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s a gamer who you trust in those situations. It took him awhile to figure out how they were playing him and us defensively. He was spectacular down the stretch.”
Perkins picked up his fourth foul with 10:07 remaining and Iowa holding a 57-46 lead.
His absence was notable as Clemson rallied to within 61-59 before Perkins returned to the court with 4:03 left in the game.
Perkins was fouled 16 seconds later, sinking two free throws.
Perkins collected four rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Iowa shot a season-low 38.3 percent, hitting 23 of 60 shots. Clemson hit 40.6 percent from the floor (26-64).
The Hawkeyes dominated the glass, outrebounding Clemson, 46-32, with forward Filip Rebraca grabbing 10 boards along with nine points.
Clemson’s Hunter Tyson collected 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Freshman Dasonte Bowen came off the bench scoring a career-high nine points for Iowa.
Clemson missed eight straight shots during a 5 minute 41 second span late in the first half enabling Iowa to turn a 21-21 tie into a 32-25 advantage. Sophomore Payton Sandfort had back-to-back baskets including a three-pointer to trigger the 11-4 run.
Two straight baskets by Patrick McCaffery to open the second half staked Iowa to a 39-27 lead.
Clemson responded with a 10-2 run fueled by four straight points from Hunter to pull within 41-37 with 15:53.