CLEMSON, S.C. — Led by Aamir Simms’ first double-double of the season and Nick Honor’s four 3-pointers, Clemson downed Morehead State 66-51 a Littlejohn Coliseum on Monday. The Tigers used a 15-0 run in the first half to gain breathing room against the Eagles and coasted to a comfortable win in the second half.
Clemson (6-1) shot 20-for-52 from the field and made 10 shots from beyond the arc and 16-of-19 free throws. The Tigers converted Morehead State’s (4-6) 21 turnovers into 21 points. In addition to winning the rebounding battle 31-25, the Tigers amassed 34 points off the bench, 16 points in the paint, 14 assists and 12 steals. The Eagles made 17-of-36 field goals, connected on seven 3-pointers and tallied 20 points in the paint.
All 14 of Honor’s points came in the second half, as the guard helped Clemson pull away from Morehead State. He shot 5-of-6 overall and 4-of-5 from 3-point territory and served as the Tigers’ leading scorer on the afternoon. As for Simms, he scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, making him the game’s leading rebounder. Simms now has six career double-doubles. Al-Amir Dawes made four 3-pointers, giving him 12 points to go along with his three assists. Clyde Trapp chipped in eight points and corralled five boards, and Jonathan Baehre tallied six points and eight rebounds. Alex Hemenway, who was a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe, contributed nine points. Morehead State’s Skyelar Potter scored a game-high 22 points.
Morehead State jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but Baehre sank a trey from the corner to cut the deficit to one point, and a dunk by P.J. Hall gave the Tigers the lead at 9-7. Baehre made an impact throughout the first half, emphatically blocking a shot and later netting an up-and-under layup that placed Clemson ahead 21-16. That layup was part of a season-best 15-0 run for the Tigers, which culminated in Clemson taking a 29-16 lead. Toward the end of the aforementioned 15-0 surge, Clyde Trapp garnered a steal and raced to the hoop for a breakaway dunk. Clemson entered halftime leading 32-19.
Nick Honor provided the Tigers with a boost in the second half. In addition to knocking down a pair of triples with under 14 minutes remaining, Honor teamed up with Hall on a steal and converted the steal into an assist with a nifty pass that set up a lay-in by Trapp at the 11:25 mark. A three-ball by Honor with 9:17 on the game clock provided Clemson with a 24-point lead, its largest of the contest, at 57-33, and the Tigers went on to win by a final score of 66-51.
Clemson, which stands at 0-1 in ACC play, will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 29, for a conference tilt against No. 21 Florida State (4-1, 1-0). The matchup at Littlejohn will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on a regional sports network (RSN). Tickets are available at clemsontigers.com/tickets.
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“I thought we guarded well throughout the game. We guarded Morehead State’s post players particularly well. We did a nice job of getting defensive rebounds, and we created turnovers. I thought our defense in the first half was really good. In games like that, the team playing from behind is more relaxed, and Morehead State played that way in the second half. But we made enough plays on offense to keep our lead in double digits.”
On playing against a zone defense:“Morehead State did a good job in their zone. It was active. I thought we were a little bit on our heels because of it. Obviously, we practiced against it, and it was good for us to play against the zone.”
On Clemson’s top performers:“Knocking down 3-pointers is what Nick [Honor] does, and one of his most important values is being aggressive against ball screens. It was good to see Al [-Amir Dawes] make four threes. It was great to see those guys play with confidence and swagger. It’s a big shot in the arm for our team. Jonathan’s [Baehre] size and experience are really vital. He did some good things against the zone early on and had a very solid game today.”