And Brad Brownell gets his first NCAA win at Clemson. I know its UAB and its the play-in, but I'll take it.
Not going to say much tonight about it because we have to get cracking on some kind of preview for West Virginia, but except for about 10-15 minutes of this game you could not help but be impressed by the play of the Tigers tonight.
Clemson jumped out to a quick 25-7 lead with smothering defense, challenging every UAB pass they attempted. We pointed out in the preview that the PG Aaron Johnson (who ended up with a broken tibia) made UAB go, and Brownell noticed it as well. Clemson rotated his defender between Stitt and Young and he could never get free of the full court man pressure to get their offense moving.
UAB responded with two quick 3s from Jamarr Sanders, their leading scorer coming in, and rained 3 pointers down for the rest of the 1st half and into the beginning of the 2nd. UAB had only hit 33.7% from 3 all season and hit 7/13 to have the contest to a reachable 39-27 at halftime. The defense wasn't that bad, they were just hitting some great shots. UAB ended up with 12/24 3 pointers made on the night.
Clemson couldn't quite get the offense moving in the 2nd half but the defense picked up the slack until the interior size advantage did get going. Clemson dominated them inside on the night, with a 40-24 advantage in the paint. We got 22 and 8 boards from Jerai Grant and 10 and 7 from Devin Booker, along with 14/16 from the FT line.
Clemson faces 5-seed West Virginia Thursday at 12:15 EST on CBS.