run out the clock

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run out the clock

In sports, to protect a lead by using up as much remaining time in a game or match as possible without giving the opposing team a chance to score, generally by maintaining a passive or defensive strategy. With just a narrow two-point lead, the home team will certainly try to run out the clock to hold out for a win. I don't know, Jim, there's a lot of game time left for them to start running out the clock already.
See also: clock, out, run