CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson coach Brad Brownell has seen plenty of teams with high expectations fall apart when adversity hits. He is proud that his Tigers are not among them. Shelton Mitchell scored 22 points with a career-best five 3-pointers as Clemson won its fourth straight with a 59-51 victory over No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.

The Tigers (15-8, 5-5 ACC) were ranked when the year began, but looked done after losing five of their first six Atlantic Coast Conference games, including a 69-67 loss at North Carolina State after blowing a six-point lead in the final minute — a defeat that would have crushed plenty of teams.

Not these Tigers, led by four starting seniors including Mitchell. “It doesn’t surprise me that with their backs against the wall in terms of basketball that they’re going to fight,” Brownell said. It took plenty of fight to upend the Hokies (18-5, 7-5), who had not lost consecutive games all season.

Clemson limited Virginia Tech to just one field goal over the final eight minutes to beat a ranked opponent for the first time this season. Virginia Tech had its chances and was down just 41-40 after Kerry Blackshear Jr.’s basket with 12:29 to go. But Clemson’s Marcquise Reed and Hunter Tyson followed with 3-pointers to build the lead. Blackshear hit two foul shots make it 47-44, but that was as close as the Hokies would get. “They defended us incredibly well,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “They were prepared for everything.”

Virginia Tech missed the next eight shots, a string finally broken by Ty Outlaw’s 3 with 12.5 seconds. By then, Clemson had a double-digit lead and the crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum was poised for a celebration.

Reed finished with 15 points, 10 in the second half. Elijah Thomas had seven of Clemson’s 12 blocks, a total that tied for the best showing by the Tigers in coach Brad Brownell’s nine seasons.

Blackshear scored 17 points to lead Virginia Tech before fouling out in the final minutes. The Hokies’ leading scorer, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, had 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

Mitchell said he and his teammates didn’t hang their heads as the losses mounted, knowing they were better than their record showed. Things have gradually turned their way, improving everyone’s confidence and attitude, Mitchell said. “We’ve got our swagger back,” he said.