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LOS ANGELES — For the first time in more than four decades, Clemson is headed to the Elite Eight.

The Tigers, after shutting down Caleb Love and No. 2 Arizona for much of the night, rallied to capture a 77-72 victory over the Wildcats at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. That officially sealed their program’s second straight trip to the Elite Eight. It also marked Arizona’s fourth straight Sweet 16 losing streak and second in three seasons under head coach Tommy Lloyd.

“They were a deserving team today,” Lloyd said. “They’ve got a little bit of a formula now. They’re the guys who jump in games, get up three in a row and force teams to come from behind. We dug deep and got ourselves back in the game, but it was us. I just couldn’t take that next step.

For most nights, the general destruction of love and wildcats still remains. They got off to perhaps the worst start, opening the game on the wrong side with a 16-6 run. Love also went 0-5 from the field to start, and Clemson took full advantage. The Tigers took a double-digit lead into the half and dominated the game on defense. Chase Hunter stuffed 7-footer Omar Ballon at the rim and Chauncey Wiggins followed with a clutch 3-pointer after Love made a foul turnover on the backboard.

Ballo cut the game to single digits at halftime, including a big one-handed dunk by Jaden Bradley in the final minute, but the Wildcats went into the locker room still down eight.

Finally, love and wild cats came alive. After the break, they went on a 12-4 lead and in the minutes of the game, they tied the game with love at one and one. Love then scored another layup just two minutes later, giving them their first lead of the game.

But that disaster didn’t last long. Arizona is almost completely shut down again. Although the Wildcats got to the free-throw line every time they attacked the rim — they were in a double bonus with seconds left in the period — they began to settle for bad quick shots from behind the arc. They made just one of their next 19 field goal attempts, giving the Tigers a one-run lead the rest of the way.

The last time Arizona came close, Bradley sank a 3-pointer to cut the game to just two points with less than a minute to play. But Hunter got through at the other end and converted a one-and-one layup that sent coach Brad Brown to the sidelines for a Tiger Woods-esque fist-pump. His brother, Dillon Hunter, followed with a three-point play of his own to seal the five-point victory.

Chase Hunter And Clemson Shocked Arizona On Thursday Night To Advance To The Elite Eight For The Second Time In Program History.Chase Hunter And Clemson Shocked Arizona On Thursday Night To Advance To The Elite Eight For The Second Time In Program History.

Chase Hunter and Clemson shocked Arizona on Thursday night to advance to the Elite Eight for the second time in program history. (Harry Howe/Getty Images)

“That was definitely a big moment for our team,” Chase said. “When that went in, I had full confidence we were going to win that game. And Little Brother got that and one and shut us down. Big play, sealed the win.”

Ballo led Arizona with 15 points and 15 rebounds despite going just 1-for-7 from the free throw line. Bradley added 18 points off the bench, and Love finished with 13 points on 0-9 shooting from behind the arc.

Hunter led the Tigers with 18 points and six rebounds, while PJ Hall finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Clemson, which trailed in the NCAA tournament by less than a minute, now takes on Alabama in the Elite Eight on Saturday. The Crimson Tide, thanks to a big finish from forward Grant Nelson, upset the top-seeded Tar Heels 89-87 in their Sweet 16 game.

Arizona, on the other hand, now returns to Tucson after another disappointing exit from the playoffs.