The Clemson Tigers (8-1) completed their last game prior to breaking for the final exams as they used a late run to pull away from the pesky Samford Bulldogs (2-8) by a score of 81-59. The story before the game was the Bulldogs travels to Clemson, as their travel was lengthened by the recent snowstorm as well as bus problems. Samford arrived in Clemson at 3am, only 12 hours before opening tip-off and many wondered whether their late arrival would impact their play.
Instead, it was the Tigers who came out flat on a snowy afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum. Samford came out in a compacted 2-3 zone daring the Tigers to try and shoot the ball from beyond the arc, and the Tigers accepted the challenge, but started ice cold. In fact, the Tigers attempted 20 three-point shots in the first half and connected on only four of them. The cold shooting wasn’t just limited to beyond the arc for the Tigers, as they shot only 11-of-30 from the field in the first half, and only 9-of-16 from the free throw line. Clemson entered the locker room with a narrow 35-30 lead.
Expecting some halftime adjustments out of coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers, Clemson fans began to worry as Samford opened up the second half on a 10-3 run as a Triston Chambers three-point field goal gave Samford a 40-38 lead. With the Tigers not getting the ball into the paint, Gabe DeVoe took over and began the Tiger run that would put the game out of reach. DeVoe would hit two consecutive three-pointers after three made free throws from Marcquise Reed. The Tigers would tighten up their defense as Samford would go over 13 minutes without a made field goal as Clemson would run away late in the second half with 46 second half points in route to an 81-59 victory.
All five Clemson starters finished in double figures led by Donte Grantham with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, many at the rim. Shelton Mitchell joined Grantham with 20 points and added 5 assists and 4 rebounds on the day. Elijah Thomas recorded another double-double finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while DeVoe and Reed rounded out the double figure scorers with 14 and 13 respectively. Clemson attempted 36 three-pointers on the day, making only 9 (25.0%) and shot only 41.7% from the field on the day.
Clemson will break for exams before traveling to Florida to take on the fifth ranked Florida Gators in the Orange Bowl Classic. Stay tuned to Shaking the Southland for all of your Clemson Basketball coverage.