CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson coach Oliver Purnell was asked what he said to the 18th-ranked Tigers after they gave up a 23-point second-half lead at home in a loss to Illinois.
“You don’t have that much time,” he said.
Clemson (6-2), which defeated then-No. 12 Butler last Sunday, looked to have this one locked up, leading 51-28 early in the second half.
All the Illini did was pull off the biggest comeback in school history for a 76-74 victory Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“All of a sudden, somebody told me we were down four. I was shocked,” said a giddy Illinois coach Bruce Weber.
He had plenty of reasons to be happy. Illinois came into this one off losses to Utah and Bradley at the HoopTV Las Vegas Invitational. The chat rooms filled up with critics blistering the Illini for a lack of on-court leadership from a team with four upperclassmen in the starting lineup.