Nov. 18, 2005
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Shawan Robinson had 15 points as Clemson took a 40-point first-half lead on its way to an 84-55 victory against overmatched Bethune-Cookman on Friday night.
Robinson finished with 18 points and made 4-of-6 3-pointers – including one that went for a four-point play – in the Tigers’ opening game victory. Clemson moved to 19-1 all-time against schools from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Tigers needed to see what life was like minus last year’s leading scorer and rebounder, Sharrod Ford. Against Bethune-Cookman (1-2), it was pretty good.
The Wildcats, who fell 68-37 to Syracuse this season, were never in it. They led 2-0 on Michael Williams’ free throws and then saw Clemson go on a 37-4 run the next 12 minutes.
Clemson led 26-6 on Robinson’s second 3 of the half. Minutes later, Troy Mathis hit a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 37-6.
Robinson added an old-fashioned three-point play about 90 seconds before the half to increase Clemson’s lead to 55-15.
Sam Perry had 14 points and James Mays had 14 rebounds for Clemson.
When the clock signaled the second half’s start, the Wildcats had yet to return to the court. And it wasn’t a stretch to wonder if they had simply jumped on the bus to leave Littlejohn Coliseum.
About the loudest things got in the sparsely filled arena – remember Saturday is the big football game with South Carolina in Columbia – was late in the first half when Mays blocked a shot into the stands behind the Tigers bench.
Very little went right for Bethune-Cookman, which had nearly as many turnovers (18) as shots (19) in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats schedule does not get easier, either, with their December schedule including games at Florida, Kansas State and Georgia Tech.
Antonio Webb led the Wildcats with 22 points, but also had seven of their 25 turnovers. Michael Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Bethune-Cookman.
Clemson made the NIT last year in coach Oliver Purnell’s second season. If the Tigers hope to reach up for an NCAA tournament spot this year, they’ll need contributions from just about everyone on the roster.
The early lead gave Purnell the chance to mix-and-match his players. During one stretch, he had four freshmen on the floor.
Besides Rivers and Mathis, freshmen Julius Powell and Raymond Sykes also had baskets.
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