CLEMSON, S.C. — Defensive intensity underscored Clemson’s victorious home opener on Wednesday. Racing past the South Carolina State Bulldogs at Littlejohn Coliseum, the Tigers never trailed in the contest and earned a comfortable 75-38 victory.
Holding South Carolina State (0-3) to 29.1 percent shooting, including a 1-for-14 output on 3-point attempts, Clemson (3-0) showed out on defense. The Tigers forced 24 turnovers and converted those turnovers into 25 points. Clemson shot 46.6 percent from the floor and made eight 3-pointers. The Tigers also went 13-for-17 on free throws and won the rebounding battle 38-33. On top of 36 bench points and 36 points in the paint, Clemson amassed 17 assists and 10 steals.
Hunter Tyson made the most of his 17 minutes on the court, leading all scorers with 13 points to go with his team-leading six rebounds. Freshman Olivier-Maxence Prosper made his Littlejohn introduction a memorable one by scoring 11 points and pulling down five boards. Aamir Simms tallied eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and recorded four assists and four rebounds. Al-Amir Dawes complemented his five points with four assists and three steals. Fourteen different players entered the game for the Tigers, and 12 of them entered their names into the scoring column. Sebastian Guitian led South Carolina State with 10 points and six boards.
Clemson jumped out to an 8-2 lead, which was capped off by Prosper sinking a layup for his first points as a Tiger. Soon afterward, Simms posterized a defender with an emphatic slam dunk. Tyson placed the Tigers ahead 16-6 by way of a three-ball from the corner and proceeded to put Clemson up 20-10 via a dunk. Impressive dunking was a fixture of Clemson’s winning performance, including a breakaway slam thrown down by Clyde Trapp after the veteran guard stole an inbound pass.
Trapp’s aforementioned rim-rocker, which followed a 3-pointer by Trapp on the previous Clemson possession, increased the Tigers’ advantage to 15 points with 7:12 to play in the first half. Clemson went on to lead 36-18 at the break, and the Tigers produced an 18-8 run during the first 7:02 of the second half en route to pulling away from the Bulldogs. Tyson got in on the dunking action early in the second half by driving the baseline and throwing it down. Parker Fox put the finishing touches on the lopsided triumph with a trey in the final minute, resulting in the 75-38 final score.
Following a weeklong layoff, the Tigers will be back in action against the Maryland Terrapins (3-0) as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Taking place at Littlejohn on Wednesday, Dec. 9, the game is slated to tip off at 5 p.m. and air on ESPN2. Tickets are available at clemsontigers.com/tickets.
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Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening statement:“That was solid performance by our team. I thought we did a good job. We wanted to guard the three, and we obviously did that. Coming in, we thought 3-point shooting was the one way South Carolina State could keep the game close, but they made only one and got only 14 off. To sustain our defense the way we did, especially in the second half, was really impressive. We played efficient offense, so that was nice to see. That was a nice way to take care of business here tonight.”
On Clemson’s shooting performance:“We were very efficient from two for the game. As for our 3-point shooting, we shot three or four I didn’t like, but we shot 18 I liked. I’m optimistic we’ll shoot better from three moving forward.”
On Lynn Kidd and Olivier-Maxence Prosper:“We wanted to get ‘O-Max’ a start. We thought this was a game where it fit. Lynn obviously got to play a few more minutes, which is good for him. He showed his competitiveness around the basket. O-Max showed his athleticism and bounciness and did a great job of crashing the boards.”
On Hunter Tyson:“I told the guys at halftime that Hunter was playing the best of anyone on tour team, and it had to do with rebounding as much as anything. He did a great job of rebounding balls that weren’t even in his area. Hunter played very well. he was locked in after having really good practices the past few days.”