Result: W 74-40
CU Leading Scorer: Jaron Blossomgame (18)
Key Stat: Clemson committed just six turnovers on 60 possessions
- As promised, we'll keep this short and pithy, as we have a football game to play on Saturday and another basketball game to close the weekend on Sunday (2pm). The biggest take-away here is the "sky is falling" rhetoric after the near loss to Lenoir-Rhyne was overblown. Overall, this game was encouraging, and not just because of the final score.
- Jaron Blossomgame looked great. He played more minutes and was a more significant part of the offense in the first half (as you'd expect in a blowout) when he collected most of his 18 total points (just 22 minutes played). He was our best player a season ago and he's continued to improve. He went 2-4 from three-point range, rebounded well, played good defense, and as he mentioned in our interview with him looked very comfortable in the offense. Additionally, I noticed him throwing up the three-point signal for one of his teammates (which DeVoe missed). You have to love his passion and leadership.
- Jaron told us to look out for a more offensively polished Djitte and more range from Josh Smith. We saw it in game one. It looked like Sidy Djitte had the mittens removed from his hands. He was much more comfortable with the ball, picking up nine points on a perfect 3-3 from the field and 3-3 from the line - very encouraging. Josh Smith also looked decent collecting 7 rebounds in 17 minutes and knocking down a long two-pointer.
- Unfortunately, it's not all roses and butterflies. Nnoko still looks a bit sloppy on offense. He had a 3" height advantage on the tallest bigs NC Central has, and leveraged that to grab plenty of his own misses (a big reason he ended with nine rebounds), but he couldn't find the touch to put it in the hoop, even with two or three tries. At one point, he missed from point blank range three times on one possession, but then hustled back for a emphatic block on the other end.
Nnoko did collect 6 blocks on defense, but it's hard to put too much stock into that due to his height advantage, which won't be present come ACC play. Still, he played with great effort and it's good news that he can be a force defensively without getting in foul trouble.
- Gave DeVoe was quiet all night going 0-6 until the final four minutes. In that span he hit two three-pointers and a runner in the lane.
- Lastly, Donte Grantham looks like he's improved from a season ago. Again, always hard to tell against inferior competition (ask GT football), but he was 3-6 from three, and is taking advantage of his athleticism better than a season ago as he collected four assists. If he has improved as much as this game could indicate, and Blossomgame continued to improve as this game also seemed to indicate, we might just be ok. Overall, not going to read to much into a win over NC Central, but our goals and projections from the season preview don't feel too lofty after seeing this performance.