The Tigers got off to a slow start, particularly defensively, and found themselves trailing 23-24 with 10:23 in the first half. Just as we were starting to worry, they settled in and dominated for stretches of the game en route to a 100-80 victory.
Clemson’s offense had their way with a poor Bulldog defense. The Tigers 100 points is the most scored in the Brownell era. Aamir Simms was the offensive player of the game scoring 16 points on 7-8 shooting. He got valuable experience as a freshman, starting after Donte Grantham’s knee injury and further offseason growth was evident tonight.
The one area where Simms struggled most was on the glass, as he only got 1 rebound. Interesting, Marquise Reed picked up 13 rebounds. It was a career high and only the third double-digit rebound game of his career. He also finished with 20 points and 4 assists. He had no personal fouls while the remainder of the starting lineup was slapped with 13 personal fouls. He was the best player in the game and with Gabe DeVoe now playing in Poland, I expect him to be Clemson’s star player.
Here are some other notes:
- Shelton Mitchell finished with 16 points and Eli Thomas 15.
- Color commentator Kelly Gramlich (who was fantastic) spoke about David Skara’s improved offense all night and he proved her right late in the game, attacking the basket aggressively and knocking down a three-pointer. If he can become an offensive contributor, the Tiger offense won’t miss a beat replacing the sharpshooting Gabe DeVoe.
- Newcomers John Newman III, Hunter Tyson, and Javan White played early and often and will join Clyde Trapp as the core of Clemson’s bench production.
- Clyde Trapp had a great game. He had his first ever blocked shot (odd stat!) and a career-high 11 points. He gave positive signs that he is ready to be the primary reserve PG and will be ready to replace Shelton Mitchell as the starter next season - very encouraging.
The Citadel is one of the worst defensive teams in college basketball so we have to caution our takeaways from this game just as we did when Clemson football demolished Louisville on Saturday. Nevertheless, the offensive performance was encouraging. The Citadel’s offense was rather impressive as they knocked down some tough shots and played at a frenetic tempo. That context makes the 80 points surrendered by the Tigers less concerning. The Tigers are back in action on Friday against NC Central