Feb. 11, 2012
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WINSTON-SALEM, NC – Tanner Smith scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half as Clemson snapped a three-game losing skid with a 78-58 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers improved to 12-12 on the season, 4-6 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons fell to 11-14 overall, 2-9 in conference play.
With the win, the Tigers earned their first win at Wake Forest since the facility’s first season in 1989-90 (89-75 Clemson win). Clemson had dropped 18 consecutive games to the Deacons in Winston-Salem. Clemson also earned a regular season sweep over Wake for the first time since that same ACC championship season. In addition, Clemson coach Brad Brownell became the first Tiger mentor to win each of his first three games against Wake Forest.
The Tigers shot a season-high 58 percent, converting 32 of 55 field goal attempts. Clemson made 8-of-18 from three-point distance, 44 percent. The Tigers also won the rebound margin 30-26 and collected 11 steals as a team. Smith was the game’s top scorer, and he was supported by Milton Jennings with 15 and Andre Young with 12. Freshman guard Devin Coleman added a season-high nine off the bench.
Clemson quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead after Tanner Smith got a fortunate bounce on a three-pointer. But, Wake Forest countered with a 9-2 run that tied the ballgame on a Chase Fischer jumper. The two teams played closely for the next several minutes. After Young tied the game on a jumper at 17, Harris came down the other end and took advantage of a mismatch for a three-point play to put the Deacs up three. That began a 7-0 run that put Wake up 24-17 before Booker answered with a jump hook in the lane.
The Tigers put together a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 26. Coleman sank his first three-point basket of the season during the run, and Jennings capped it with a layup. Coleman put in a spinning reverse layup moments later, which sandwiched back-to-back deep threes from Smith that made it 34-32 in a sudden offensive battle.
Clemson closed the half strong on an 8-0 run that culminated with a Booker tip-in just before the halftime buzzer. Smith scored a game-high 15 points in that opening stanza, and the Tigers shot a season-best 64 percent for the 20 minutes.
The second half featured a 17-5 run out of the gate in which the Tiger seniors combined for 15 points. Bryan Narcisse hit his fifth three-pointer of the season in the run. Clemson is now 10-3 all-time when Narcisse makes a three-point basket.
Wake scored a modest four unanswered as Clemson failed to score for more than three minutes. But, Jennings ended that with a three off a secondary break to make it 62-45. The lead reached 73-50 on a long ball in the corner by freshman K.J. McDaniels. The Tigers’ freshmen combined for 16 points in the ballgame.
The Tigers return home to take on a ranked Virginia team on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The game is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Littlejohn Coliseum.
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