The Broncos (2-1) went into the locker room at halftime trailing 41-38. They tied the score at 41 early in the second half, but Clemson (4-0) pulled away and led by as many as 22 points late in the game.
Boise State didn’t have a great shooting day. The Broncos shot 39% (22-of-56) from the floor and 30% (7-of-23) from 3-point range. They also struggled on the boards, where they were outrebounded 40-25 by a physical ACC team.
“That game was lost on the glass,” Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice said. “We haven’t been beaten like that in a long time. Clemson is picked toward the top of the ACC for a reason.”
Clemson, which won 23 games last season but did not make the NCAA Tournament, was picked to finish 5th in the 15-team ACC.
Chibuzo Agbo led the way for Boise State with 18 points. Kansas transfer Cam Martin added 15 points and seven rebounds, and St. John’s transfer O’Mar Stanley added 11 points and four rebounds.
Clemson’s Joseph Girard III led all scorers with 23 points. Chase Hunter and PJ Hall both finished with 14 points.
The Broncos face another ACC team on Thursday when they open the ESPN Invitational Tournament in Orlando, Florida, against Virginia Tech (6 p.m. Mountain time, ESPN2 or ESPNU). The loaded field also includes Texas A&M, Penn State, Butler, Iowa State, VCU and Florida Atlantic, which made the Final Four last season.