Slow start dooms Tigers in Anaheim

Slow start dooms Tigers in Anaheim

No. 19 Clemson never regains the lead after falling behind 16 points in the second half at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

Clemson - Texas A&M Box Score

B.J. Holmes scored 20 points to help Texas A&M upset No. 19 Clemson 69-60 on Thursday in the first round of the 76 Classic.

David Loubeau added 12 points and nine rebounds and Bryan Davis had 10 points for the Aggies (4-0), who will face No. 8 West Virginia in a semifinal game on Friday.

Trevor Booker scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half for Clemson (4-1).

The Tigers dropped their first game during the month of November since 2004, when Boston College beat Clemson 79-70 in Chestnut Hill, MA. Clemson (4-1) had won 30 consecutive games in the month of November prior to today's contest.

"We give Texas A&M a lot of credit, they came out with as much physicality as we've faced this year," head coach Oliver Purnell said. "We didn't react very well to it in the first half. When we went into droughts, it affected us defensively. First of all, with our pressure. Secondly, in transition, help-side position, we gave up a few layups and it just went south from there.

"I was pleased with our approach and effort in the second half. If we come out with that kind of approach and discipline for the rest of the season, then we'll learn from that."

Texas A&M led by as many as 16 early in the second half before Clemson pulled to 58-56 when Tanner Smith made two free throws with 5:14 remaining. Smith finished with 14 points.

A free throw and then Holmes' 3-pointer gave the Aggies some breathing room and Clemson could never recover.

With the game tied at 18, Khris Middleton and Holmes made 3-pointers during the Aggies 15-2 run that included three layups from Donald Sloan to take a 33-20 halftime lead. Clemson's 20 points in the first half were the fewest the Tigers have scored since getting only 17 against Florida State on Feb. 19, 2008.

Texas A&M extended its advantage to 44-29 before Clemson used a 13-4 run to get back into the game. The Tigers were done in by poor shooting (33.9 percent) and 18 turnovers.

"We came out in the first half and missed shots," senior forward Trevor Booker said. "We quit. I got frustrated. We tried to come back in the second half but we just couldn't It was physical in the first half, they outplayed us. In the second half we played better."

The Tigers move on to face Long Beach State in the second round, with the game scheduled for Friday at 5:00 PM (EST).

It marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

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