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Second Half Surge Pushes Clemson Past Presbyterian, 64-53

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tip Off Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers season technically started at 7pm on Tuesday night against Presbyterian Blue Hose but it wasn’t until the second half of the 64-53 win that they got things rolling. If you tuned in to watch the game or showed up at Littlejohn in the first frame, you might not have realized that real competitive basketball was going on. Sure there were five orange jerseys on the court at a given time, but for the first 19 or so minutes nothing went right for the Tigers. They were outshot, out-rebounded, out-passed and outscored in the paint by the lowly Blue Hose.

Then, Hunter Tyson started seeing the ball go through the hoop. He kept Clemson alive and finished the first half with 11, the lone Tiger in double-figures, and his team trailed by 8 (32-24) at halftime.

After the break, Clemson treated its fans to a fast and fun performance that everyone had looked for about an hour earlier. The Tigers charged out of the gates with a 19-9 run which PJ Hall capped with an impressive slam to put Clemson up 43-41.

An Al-Amir Dawes 3-pointer, one of four in the game, sparked another huge Clemson run that put the Tigers in the driving seat for the remainder of the evening. Dawes scored 16 of his 21 points, one shy of his career-best, in the second half and had just one turnover in the frame.

Hunter Tyson and transfer guard David Collins each chipped in 14 points to help secure the win. Tyson was efficient shooting 4-7 from the field and 4-5 from the line while collecting 7 rebounds. Collins showed Clemson fans how he can create his own shot as he drove to the line and drew fouls numerous times. He attempted 9 free throws. Unfortunately, he was 3-9 from the FT line, but if this was mostly a blip and he can be even just a slightly-below average FT shooter, he’ll be a real weapon that can create offense and get opposing players in foul trouble. Nick Honor had a down game scoring just 2 points and playing only 17 minutes. He was outstanding through most of last season, but ended the year on a cold streak.

Clemson looks to continue the positive momentum from a strong second half this Friday against Wofford.