Clemson's 'Greatest Performance' Set for Radio Rebroadcast

Brad Senkiw

Tim Bourret has called over 1,100 Clemson men’s basketball games since the start of the 1979-80 season.

The legendary color commentator and Hall of Fame sports information director doesn’t hesitate when recalling the greatest Tiger performance he’s ever seen: Clemson’s 84-53 win over Auburn in the 2018 NCAA tournament.

“I said that during the broadcast when we went up 70-29,” Bourret recalled during an interview on WCCP 105.5 The Roar on Friday. “I first said I feel like I’m watching a UConn women’s basketball game because we were up 40 points, which the UConn women’s basketball team does most of the time. But I said it was the greatest performance I had ever seen by a Clemson basketball team when you take everything into account, and there have been some great performances.”

That game will be rebroadcast Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on select affiliates of the Clemson Tigers Network, including 105.5 and 97.5 on The Roar, WPUB (Camden), WGZV (Charlotte) and WLON (Lincolnton, N.C.). It will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com and the TuneIn App.

This kicks off a series of memorable games from the last few seasons in Clemson athletics, including contests for football, women’s basketball and baseball, that will be replayed each of the next 15 Saturdays.

The second-round tourney victory two years ago leaves a significant mark in Clemson basketball history. It put the Tigers in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997, and it marks the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in school history.

“A lot of people remember when we beat Duke 74-47 when Trevor Booker was playing, but this was the NCAA tournament,” Bourret said. “This was for the right to go to the Sweet 16. This was against an Auburn team that had won the SEC championship so this was a very big game. When you factor everything that was on the line and to be up 40 points in the second half and ended up winning by 31.”

The statistics from that game are still staggering, especially when you consider this wasn’t a random game in December. This was March Madness between a fifth-seed (Clemson) and a four-seed in San Diego.

Clemson shot 47.5 percent from the field and held Auburn to 25.8 percent shooting. Brad Brownell’s squad, led by Marcquise Reed, Gabe DeVoe Shelton Mitchell and Elijah Thomas, dished out 19 assists and turned the ball over just seven times. They destroyed Auburn on the boards, 50-32, and used a key first-half stretch that’s still hard to understand.

Down 18-15 at the 10:34 mark of the first half, Auburn would miss the next 18 field goals, finishing 6 of 33 in the first 20 minutes. Clemson scored 17 unanswered points and closed with a 25-4 run to go into the locker room up 43-19.

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Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC Tigers didn’t let up, eventually building a 41-point lead and getting a highlight 3-pointer from DeVoe from the March Madness logo that expanded from halfcourt to about 7 feet in front of the 3-point line.

He finished with 22 points and six 3-pointers.

Clemson would go on to lose 80-76 in the Sweet 16 round to Kansas, which went on to win the Midwest Regional and reach the Final Four.

The Tigers finished their season 25-10 and left Brownell with the thought of “what-if.” Forward Donte Grantham, one of the most experienced and versatile players on the team, was lost in the 20th game of the season to a knee injury. Clemson was 17-3 at the time, and the team adjusted and fought hard to have an opportunity to go on that NCAA tournament run.

Bourret said Brownell told him that if Grantham had stayed healthy, the Clemson coach believed he had the right personnel to reach the Final Four.

They came pretty close anyway and had the best performance their longtime broadcaster has ever seen from the program.

“I stand by that statement today,” Bourret said.

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