The Clemson Tigers (4-1) lost their first contest of the season on Sunday night, falling in the Championship game of the Gildan Charleston Classic to the Temple Owls (3-0) by a score of 67-60. Clemson failed to matchup against the Owls (a likely tournament team) as they faced their first test against a team that matches them in athleticism and size. They gave up 10 offensive rebounds and were unable to contain the Temple combo of Shizz Alston Jr and Josh Brown, who combined for 27 points on the evening.
The story for the Tigers in this contest was their inability to get their offense running, mainly due to their sloppy and lackadaisical passing, which resulted in 18 turnovers which led to 24 Temple points. Elijah Thomas turned the ball over 7 times, while Marcquise Reed added 5, and Gave DeVoe 4. Despite the lack of offensive output, Clemson managed to claw their way back into the contest thanks to a near 4-minute field goal drought by the Owls, but four clutch free throws from Shizz Alston sealed the victory and the Championship for Temple.
With the contest relatively close, Temple utilized an 18-7 run that began in the first half and extended into the beginning of the second half, thanks to their offensive rebounding. (9 of their 10 offensive rebounds came in the opening half) Despite the Tigers catching a break with Brown picking up 2 quick fouls and spending most of the first half on the bench, he exploded for 13 points during the Temple run, including 2 of this 3 made three pointers on the day. Brown found himself with uncontested jumpers as the Tigers failed to rotate defensively after doubling the ball handler against the pick-and-roll.
Shelton Mitchell led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting, and added 5 rebounds and 4 assists on the evening. Marcquise Reed added 14 points of his own and 7 rebounds, while Donte Grantham rounded out the double figure scorers with 13 of his own to go along with his 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Clemson scored on 11 bench points with 9 of them coming from Graduate Transfer Mark Donnal. Clemson shot just 7-of-26 (26.9%) from behind the arc on the evening and assisted on only 12 baskets to 18 turnovers on the afternoon.
The Tigers will return to Littlejohn Coliseum this Friday as they take on Texas Southern at 3pm. Stay tuned to Shakin the Southland for all of your Clemson Basketball coverage.