K.J. McDaniels and Damarcus Harrison each tallied 16 points as the third-seeded Clemson Tigers withstood a comeback attempt by the fifth-seeded Belmont Bruins to pull out a 73-68 victory in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals at Littlejohn Coliseum.
McDaniels added six rebounds, three assists and two steals to his stat line for Clemson (23-12), which will move on to the NIT semifinal round to face the winner of SMU and California, who play Wednesday. Jordan Roper chipped in 12 points, and Landry Nnoko pulled down a team-high nine rebounds in the win.
Craig Bradshaw led all scorers in the contest with 21 points for Belmont (26-10), adding nine rebounds and five assists to his resume. J.J. Mann netted 20 points with seven boards, and Blake Jenkins contributed 13 points with eight rebounds in the loss.
Clemson built up and early lead by hitting 48.3 percent of its field goal tries in the first half. The Tigers took a 37-31 lead into the intermission after Belmont connected on just 31.4 percent of its shots in the frame. Clemson led by as many as 12 points with just over two minutes to play in the half.
Belmont made a furious comeback attempt in the second period, however. The Bruins hit 46.7 percent of their shot tries, including 7-of-16 from 3-point range, and took a six-point lead with 13:58 left to play in regulation. The Tigers didn't allow that lead to stand, as they made 48.1 percent of their attempts from the floor to erase the Belmont lead.
The Bruins not only didn't get a single point from their bench, but not one Belmont reserve player even attempted a field goal in the contest. Clemson outscored the Bruins in that area, 19-0.