The Clemson Tigers close 2022 with a bang — and their most impressive victory of the season. Clemson defeated the NC State Wolfpack in Littlejohn Coliseum, 78-64. The Tigers are now 11-3 on the season and remain undefeated in conference play (3-0).
Every home ACC game is crucial, but against fellow NCAA Tournament bubble teams, the intensity is increased even more. The Wolfpack were 11 spots higher in the KenPom power rankings heading into the game, one of six ACC teams ahead of Clemson. This win should serve as a proving ground for the Tigers. Even with two losses to underwhelming opponents, they can still put up performances that put them deep into the March Madness conversation.
Hunter Tyson had tremendous night posting a career-high 31 points on just 13 shots, along with grabbing a causal 15 rebounds! Both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm early on in the game, but Hunter Tyson came to the rescue for the Tigers. The Wolfpack could never find a spark to put them over the edge.
As a team, Clemson found a lot of scoring help off the bench tonight. To counter the 4-guard perimeter oriented NC State lineup, Brownell gave RJ Godfrey the nod as a starting forward. This allowed Ben Middlebrooks to see the lion’s share of minutes off the bench from a big man and took advantage of it, securing a bench-high 10 points in 17 minutes. Clemson had 25 total points from the reserves.
The Wolfpack were obviously frustrated during the course of play in the second half. They were shooting poorly, turning the ball over, and had absolutely no answer to the hot shooting of Tyson. A key for the Tigers was to get NC State big man DJ Burns in foul trouble. He fouled out with seven minutes to play.
A 50-point second half propelled Clemson to the convincing win, even with NC State making efforts to creep back into the contest. And dare I say: It was a pretty well coached game from Brownell too.
The win pushes Clemson to 3-0 in ACC play and 11-3 overall. Their next two games will be very challenging road trips, first to Virginia Tech on Wednesday and then to Pittsburgh on Saturday, January 7th.