Kennedy shot 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-6 at the free-throw line for SMU (27-9), which will take on either Florida State or Minnesota in Thursday's championship game. Nic Moore and Nick Russell added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
For Clemson (23-13), Rod Hall tallied 18 points and five assists, K.J. McDaniels had 11 points and Landry Nnoko and Damarcus Harrison scored 10 points apiece.
Clemson took control of the contest early by outshooting SMU from the field in the first half, 56 percent to 37 percent, as it carried a comfortable 38-26 lead into intermission.
The tables turned early in the second half when the Mustangs opened up the frame on a 19-7 run to tie the score at 45 with 10:30 left following a Russell 3-pointer. The Tigers briefly regained the lead only for SMU to surge ahead for good on a pair of Kennedy free throws with 5:09 remaining. Two Clemson free throws with nine seconds left brought its deficit to just one, but Kennedy put the game out of reach on the other end of the court with a three- point play.
SMU held a firm 35-25 advantage on the boards.