CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Marcquise Reed scored 24 points and Elijah Thomas had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead No. 25 Clemson to a 74-69 win over Louisville in overtime on Saturday.
The Tigers (14-1, 3-0 ACC) found their 3-point shot when it mattered, making five of their final seven shots behind the arc after starting the game 2 of 17 on 3s.
Clemson stayed in the game by forcing a season-worst 21 turnovers by the Cardinals – 15 on steals – and won it by hitting nine of 12 free throws at the end of overtime.
The Cardinals (11-4, 1-1) had a chance to win but turned the ball over with the game tied at 55 in the final 50 seconds. Then, after stealing it back, Quentin Snider missed an off-balance 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
The Tigers have won 10 in a row and their 3-0 ACC start is the best since 1997, when Clemson rose to No. 4 with a 5-0 league start that ended against a Wake Forest team led by Tim Duncan.
Ray Spaulding led Louisville with 16 points and 14 rebounds while limited to 29 minutes with foul trouble. Deng Adel added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Shelton Mitchell had 13 points, going 8-for-9 from the foul line and 2 of 13 on 3-pointers for the Tigers.
Louisville: The Cardinals played good defense, holding Clemson to just 37 percent (25 of 68) shooting, but the turnovers killed them. It was only Louisville’s second loss in eight games against Clemson.
Clemson: This was Clemson’s first home game as a ranked opponent in eight years. Last season, this kind of game killed Clemson. Sixteen of the Tigers 33′ games were decided by six points or fewer, and they lost 12 of them. But this Clemson team is more confident and more physical. Many of those 15 steals by the Tigers were caused by them forcing themselves into Cardinals who were stepped up to catch passes.
Louisville: The Cardinals play at No. 24 Florida State on Wednesday.
Clemson: The Tigers try to finish an early season sweep at North Carolina State on Thursday. Clemson beat the Wolfpack at home 78-62 on Dec. 30.