Unlike the Jared Hess critical flop Gentleman Broncos, people showed up and were treated to a good show by the Clemson men’s basketball team. The Tigers made easy work of a fairly talented Boise State team 85-68 on Sunday afternoon. Here are a few final observations on today’s win.
First, for the opposing Broncos:
- Boise State is a talented, NCAA-caliber team. I don’t want that to get lost in the noise. Leon Rice (Boise State’s head coach) is a name that you’ll see in coaching searches this coming spring, and for the first half they put up a strong and valiant effort.
- I was impressed with Boise State’s first half shooting. I naturally rolled my eyes when “the normally 20% 3 point shooting” Chibuzo Agbo started the game 3-3 from beyond the arc, and each shot seemed perfectly contested. I was worried that this was another case of some guy just happening to catch fire against Clemson, but the Tiger D stiffened up in the 2nd half. They were able to hold Agbo to 3 second half points, although he led all Boise State scorers with 18.
- The Broncos have an impressive set of forwards who aren’t afraid of getting in the paint and scrapping. Cam Martin finished with 11 and looked like a 7th year player. He will be a problem in the later part of the season if his fellow forward Tyson Degenhart is able to knock down shots. It was clear from the beginning that Clemson took Degenhart seriously as a shooter, holding him to 2 for 7 from the field.
- Omar Stanley is another power forward who was able to find success in the paint, leading the Broncos bench with 11.
- With the depth and strength of the Boise front court, I could easily see this team being a contender to win their league in the Mountain West and being a challenge for several teams in the NCAA tournament or the NIT.
Now, to the victors.
- This wasn’t the slow start like the prior 2 games in Asheville with the Tigers finishing the first half shooting 53%. The challenge was Boise State knocking down several key 3’s and shooting 42% to keep Clemson’s lead at only at 3 at the half. After the break, the Tigers were able to ratchet up the defense, limiting Boise’s opportunities and asserting their will rebounding. The Broncos finished the game shooting 39%
- Joe Girard continues to heat up. After a slow start to the season, Girard has caught fire and led all scorers today with 23 points. His inside game is just as smooth as his outside 3-point shooting. There were several baseline and mid-elbow runners that dropped that made me say “Amen.”
- Chase Hunter and PJ Hall are steady Eddies. Both ended the game with 14 points, despite getting off to a somewhat slow start before dominating as the game played out. Hunter particularly set the tone early with an aggressive dunk, and finished off the day with a perfect shot block that got the Littlejohn crowd on their feet.
- RJ Godfrey absolutely deserves a shoutout. He continues to grow and looks like an absolute specimen on the blocks. The stat sheet only reads 6 points, but his career high 4 blocks and 7 rebounds came at the most critical juncture of the game, turning a dogfight into a beatdown in the process.
The last 3 games have had some great moments and impressive wins over several mid-majors that will be in contention for post season play. We haven’t truly gotten to see how Clemson performs against some high ranking competition, but that will soon change after Thanksgiving. For now, Clemson continues to show the potential of how good this team might be by winning games they should win and, on days like today, doing it in impressive fashion.
The Tigers take the court again next Friday, 11/24 against Alcorn State.
Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and Go Tigers!