Despite a shaky start, the Clemson Tigers (7-1) talent eventually shone through in their 83-52 win over UNC Asheville (5-3) at home on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the game but Clemson was able to battle back, although the game stayed close for most of the first half. Then, with about six minutes left in the half, the defense locked in for Clemson powering the Tigers to a 16-6 run to end the half. The run took a game tied at 20 and put it into halftime with Clemson up 36-26.
In the second half, Clemson built on their momentum and firmly took control of the game. They held the Bulldogs to just ten points in the first ten minutes of second half, extending their lead to 20 points, up 56-50 by the midpoint of the final period.
By the time the final whistle blew, the Tigers were up by over thirty and the six-point deficit that had started the game was all but forgotten.
All afternoon Clemson took advantage of weak interior defense from UNCA, throwing down ten dunks and totaling 48 points in the paint. The broadcast crew even said it was the most dunks the Tigers have had in a game since February 1998.
This interior dominance coupled with outstanding performances from Marcquise Reed, 19 points and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, and Donte Grantham who scored 17 points and added a team-high ten rebounds. Grantham, who started the year on fire from deep, was 8-of-12 from the field but just 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
As a team, Clemson’s offense was firing at all cylinders -- they shot over fifty percent from the field in the game. Both Gabe DeVoe and Elijah Thomas finished just under double-digits with nine points in the win. Clemson had 10 different players score points in the win.
Next up, the Tigers will face Samford at home before they take on the No. 6 Florida Gators at a neutral site in two Saturdays.