Iowa beats Clemson at Emerald Coast Classic

WIRE AND STAFF REPORTS

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Patrick McCaffrey scored 21 points and the 25th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team edged out Clemson 74-71 Friday night to reach the Emerald Coast Classic championship game.

Iowa (5-0) meets the TCU California winner in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday. Clemson (4-2) will play the TCU California loser.

“That’s what these tournaments are for, playing against really good teams like Clemson, very physical, deep, fast,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “It gives you the opportunity – us and them – to find out something about yourself.

“We executed for the most part. We missed a couple of times at either end but overall I was pleased with how we kept our composure and got the win.”

Tony Perkins, whose playing time was limited due to early foul troubles, scored eight of his 11 points in the final two minutes by making a layup and six of six free throws to quell a furious Tigers comeback attempt.

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Perkins, who missed Monday’s Iowa game through injury, didn’t score and turned the ball over three times in the first half.

“He kind of is,” said coach Fran McCafffey. “He’s a player. You trust him in situations like this.

“It took me a while to figure it out. He sidestepped a bit, got into serious trouble and wasn’t as flowy as usual. Luckily (towards the end) he was spectacular.”

The Hawkeyes held a 14-point lead with just under eight minutes to go, but Clemson equalized on 62 points after a 3-point strike from Breven Galloway capping a 16-2 run.

Chase Hunter hit a 3-pointer for Clemson to cut him to 72-71 with 4.1 seconds left. Perkins made two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining.

“It didn’t go exactly as we planned later on,” Patrick McCaffery said, but he added, “We live for these competitive, high-intensity games.

“I’m proud of the win and looking forward to moving forward.”

Patrick McCaffery, one of two sons of coach Fran McCaffery on the Hawkeye squad, hit seven of 14 shots from the field. Kris Murray was the only other double-digit scorer for Iowa with 10.

Dasonte Bowen lifted the Hawkeyes off the bench. The freshman guard never missed a shot and finished the game with nine points in 12 minutes.

“(Dasonte) is a lot of fun, a great kid, always looking for knowledge, always looking for knowledge and always asking questions,” said Patrick McCaffery. “Every time he succeeds, I am very happy for him.

“His 3-pointer corner kick was huge, a big play in the game.”

Hunter led Clemson with 21 points and Hunter Tyson had 13.

“Hunter was really good,” said coach McCaffery. “He’s a great 3-pointer and he’s better at getting to the edge. You give him space, he’s hard to control.

“We need to get better defensively in some areas, but we will learn.”

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