GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) Clemson coach Brad Brownell sees his players fighting to win and he's more than willing to stick up for them.
The Tigers got 23 points from Jaron Blossomgame to beat Boston College 65-54 on Wednesday night and improve to 9-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, one of only five times in 63 ACC seasons the school has won that many games through 14 league contest.
''There's some times we think our tradition and history is a little bit better than it is,'' Brownell said. ''We've had pockets of success and done some good things and are trying to do more. But this team's done some things that other teams in the history of the school haven't done.''
Clemson (16-10, 9-5) made a splash last month when it defeated Louisville, Duke and Miami - three consecutive ranked opponents - for the first time in school history. Now, the Tigers are trying to enhance that with a late run to the NCAA tournament.
''This league's pretty good, so I'm proud of our guys,'' Brownell said.
To get there, Clemson will need more rugged efforts like this one.
Avry Holmes scored 17 points and was the primary defender on high-scoring Eli Carter, Boston College's top scorer held to 1-of-17 shooting and five points.
The Tigers needed a 16-5 run in the second half to gain control, then held the Eagles (7-19, 0-13) to just two field goals in the final five minutes. Boston College lost its program-worst 13th straight game, surpassing the run of 12 straight defeats set in 1999-2000 as members of the Big East Conference.
Donte Grantham put the Tigers up for good, 45-43, with a 3-pointer before Blossomgame's two foul shots. Grantham, Holmes and Blossomgame each hit 3-pointers to give the Tigers a 58-48 lead that the Eagles could not overcome.
''The goal for us the last two weeks is just to play better basketball,'' Blossomgame said. ''Tonight, we did some good things in the second half and hopefully, we can carry it over to Saturday'' at North Carolina State.
Clemson has more work to do if it wants to move into the NCAA field. Falling to struggling Boston College, though, would've been a death blow.
''It's games like these that can help you have a special season,'' Brownell said.
Dennis Clifford had 17 points to lead the Eagles.
Carter's performance continued a late-season slide for the Florida transfer. He had just 2 points four games ago, then 7 points in a loss to Syracuse last time out. Against Clemson, Carter missed all seven of his 3-point tries.
Boston College surpassed its previous worst losing streak of 12, set in 1999-2000 as members of the Big East Conference.
This was supposed to be a Clemson runaway, the Tigers looking to build momentum to continue a surprising ACC season. Instead, the Eagles kept firing away - and hitting big shots.
Boston College rallied from nine points down early to grab a 34-31 halftime lead on Sammy Barnes-Thompkins' second 3-pointer of the period with 47 seconds left.
And the Eagles did it with Carter (16.1 points a game) in a first-half funk: He went 0-of-7 with zero points.
Clemson, meanwhile, struggled to make shots. Starting forward Grantham was 1 of 7 while the starting backcourt of Holmes and Jordan Roper combined to go 2 of 6 from the floor.
Boston College: The Eagles 12-game ACC losing streak matches the program's 12 straight defeats in Big East play in 1999-2000.
Clemson: The Tigers have more ACC wins (8) than nonconference wins (7), the first time they've accomplished that since 1966-67. That year, Clemson went 17-8 overall with a 9-5 mark in the ACC.
Neither team made a living at the foul line in this one. Boston College made all its free throws, yet shot just five as the Tigers were called for just nine fouls. Clemson was 12 of 17 from the foul line off 19 Boston College fouls.
Boston College coach Jim Christian said his team has not shown signs of giving in during a poor season and perhaps played its best three-game stretch in losing to North Carolina (68-65), Syracuse (75-61) and here at Clemson. ''Our young guys are getting a little more experience and just have to hang in there,'' Christian said. ''As I told the guys, it's not easy, but I'm impressed with what they're doing.''
Boston College plays at Wake Forest on Sunday.
Clemson goes to North Carolina State on Saturday.