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Girard reaches 2,000 career points, leads Clemson past Syracuse 77-68

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Joe Girard III scored 18 points to reach 2,000 in his career to lead Clemson to a 77-68 win over Syracuse Saturday afternoon in his first game on the court he called home for four seasons.

Girard scored 1,652 career points for the Orange. A four-year starter at Syracuse, he transferred to Clemson following coach Jim Boeheim's retirement last season.

Girard hit the first two of his four 3-pointers to help key a 14-0 first-half run that put Clemson up, 27-12 en route to a 37-24 lead at the break. JJ Starling hit a jumper and a 3 and Chris Bell added a 3 as Syracuse started the second half with an 8-0 run and Starling's jumper with 3:37 left tied the game at 60-60. PJ Hall and Chase Hunter answered with back-to-back jumpers and the Tigers closed out the game on a 17-8 run for their second straight win.

After scoring 21 points to help the Tigers knock off No. 3 North Carolina 80-76 at Chapel Hill for just the second time in program history Tuesday, Girard was welcomed with good-natured booing by the Syracuse student section when he was introduced prior to tip-off. He answered by knocking down 4 of 5 3-point attempts and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 1:12 to help close out the victory.

PJ Hall had a double-double for Clemson (16-7, 6-6 Atlantic Coast), scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while blocking three shots. Ian Schieffelin added 13 points and Hunter contributed 10 points and seven assists.

Starling and Chris Bell each scored 16 points to lead Syracuse (15-9, 6-7). Judah Mintz scored 14 points and dished four assists and Quadir Copeland came off the bench to add 13 points, four boards and three assists.

Clemson returns home to host Miami on Wednesday. Syracuse plays host to North Carolina Tuesday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball