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Clemson Basketball: #22 Tigers Cruise By NC Central 71-51

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Brad Brownell's team made it look easy against the two time defending MEAC Champs

Tigers warm up prior to game last season
JP Priester

Clemson jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead over NC Central, and the Tigers never looked back, cruising to a 71-51 win over the Eagles Friday night in Littlejohn Coliseum. The 22nd ranked Tigers move to 2-0 on the young season, while NC Central drops to 0-1.

On a night that saw both Shelton Mitchell and Marquise Reed have less than stellar shooting nights, David Skara had another impressive performance, leading all scorers with 16 pts. The senior kept up his hot shooting we saw in the opener, going 5-7 from the field, and hitting 3-4 from beyond the arc. Aamir Sims had an efficient night as well, finishing with 14 pts on 5-8 shooting, that also saw him go 3-4 from 3 point land.

It was an uncharacteristic shooting night for the Tigers two upperclassmen guards. Marquise Reed didn’t score his first points until just before the half, finishing only 1-7 from the field, 1-4 on 3 point shots, and totaling just 6 points. Fortunately, he made his presence known in other areas, finishing with 5 assists and 4 boards. Shelton Mitchell had a slightly better night shooting, going 3-7 from the field, but only hitting on 1-4 from beyond the arc. He finished with 11 points, while adding 4 assists.

Clemson got off to a hot start, hitting on 9 of its first 10 shots, but it was the defense that really led the way. NC Central shot just 27% in the first half and found themselves down 20 at halftime. The Tigers took a 40-20 lead into the break, with graduate transfer Javan White and true freshman Hunter Tyson putting up 6 points each in the half. The 20 first half points were the second fewest allowed by Clemson in its last 61 games, bested only by last year's team that allowed only 19 first half points to Auburn in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

Overall, the Tigers held NC Cental to 33% shooting (18-55 FG) while turning the Eagles over 20 times. Clemson ended the contest shooting 46% overall (23-50 FG), 37% (10-27) from 3 point land, and finished with an 18:11 assist to turnover ratio. At times the Tigers were outworked on the glass, with the Eagles grabbing 7 more boards than Clemson 38-31, finishing with a 14-5 advantage on the offensive glass as well.

Raasean Davis led the way for the Eagles with 14 points, and Zac Douglas chipped in with 12. Next up for the Tigers is Sam Houston State. The Bearkats visit Littlejohn on 11/14 for a 7pm tip.