Tigers open Brad Brownell era with win over Western Carolina


by - Senior Writer -
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Devin Booker getting fired up

CLEMSON – Junior swingman Tanner Smith decided at noon on Friday that he wanted to do something to get the attention of his teammates, and the attention-getter he decided on was to trim his hair into a Mohawk.

He said his mother may not like the new look, but his teammates responded with an 87-64 season-opening victory over Southern Conference foe Western Carolina in front of 7,920 fans at Littlejohn Coliseum, opening the Brad Brownell era with the easy victory.

Smith, who scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and tallied seven assists, said roommate and teammate Andre Young didn’t want to help with the new look.

“My mom is going to kill me,” Smith said. “I don’t even know if she is going to give me a hug. She saw it out on the floor. Andre didn’t want to help me with it, because he thinks it looks stupid. And I do, too. But I wanted to do something to get my teammates enthused for the game and for the season, and it worked. Everybody was ready to go.”

Brownell said he was pleased with the effort in his Clemson debut.

“I am pleased with the guy’s effort out there,” Brownell said. “They were ready to play, and I thought the starters played well. I thought Western was ready to play, and they had some kids that had been in this building before. Our guys did a good job of making it difficult for them to get into a rhythm offensively.

“I am most proud of the fact they were ready to play, they were eager, and they were hungry. We need to do that, and we did it tonight. When we do that we can be pretty good. It was fun. Especially when your team is playing well, I enjoy it.”

The Catamounts grabbed a quick 3-0 lead, but the rest of the half was all Clemson. Young and Smith each scored 10 points as the Tigers roared out to 43-24 halftime lead.

Devin Booker hit two free throws at the 8:58 mark to give Clemson a 24-12 lead, and they extended the advantage to 28-12 on two free throws by Noel Johnson. The Catamounts eventually got back within 10 points at 34-24 as the Tigers missed several free throws, but Smith ended the half with five straight points for the 43-24 lead.

The teams traded baskets through the first three-and-a-half minutes of the second half, but Booker hit a running left-hander in the lane for a 54-33 lead, and then dunked on a put-back at the 11:11 mark to give Clemson a 63-40 lead. Freshman Corey Stanton hit a three-pointer, the first of his Clemson career, 20 seconds later and the Tigers had their biggest lead at 66-40.

The Catamounts got back within 24, but a Bobo Baciu dunk and two Milton Jennings free throws with just under six minutes remaining gave Clemson a 80-49 lead, and Brownell began to empty the bench.

The Catamounts surged back to within 23 at 80-57, and Brownell re-inserted his starters. Booker immediately went inside and hit a layup, was fouled and hit the free throw and the Tigers cruised from there.

Booker led the Tigers with 16 points and had seven rebounds, and Milton Jennings added 14 points.

Booker had the Tigers’ first points of the season on a three-pointer, and he said he just wants to do whatever he can to help his team.

“We went out there and got after it, and I went out there and did what I did to help the team,” Booker said. “I am not afraid to take that three. I wanted to do something to get our team going, and it worked. We didn’t want to take them lightly. I am more comfortable in this offense than the offense last year. It gives us freedom.”

Western Carolina head coach Larry Hunter called the Tigers fundamentally sound.

“I was impressed with the energy level of Clemson, especially in the first half,” Hunter said. “They played very well together. I thought they worked well inside-out and you could tell they really worked on reversing the basketball. They really hurt us and got the early lead with some offensive rebounding.

“They’re just a very fundamentally sound basketball team. They played well that first half with a lot of energy and it was very impressive. They shot very well. When you get good shots, you shoot a good
percentage and they got good shots.”

Clemson is back in action Monday night when they entertain Wofford in a 7 p.m. contest at Littlejohn Coliseum. Ironically, the Catamounts’ next contest is at DePaul, where they face former Clemson coach Oliver Purnell and the Blue Demons on Tuesday.




VISITORS: Western Carolina 0-1
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
34 Gallagher, Blake.... f  2-2    0-0    1-2    1  1  2   5   5  2  1  0  1  15
50 Gordon, Richie...... f  2-4    0-0    1-2    0  4  4   3   5  1  1  0  0  32
12 Williams, Mike...... g  5-11   0-3    0-2    1  1  2   2  10  5  4  0  0  31
22 Mutombo, Harouna.... g  4-10   4-6    0-3    1  4  5   0  12  1  0  0  0  26
24 Boggs, Brandon...... g  1-6    0-4    0-0    1  0  1   3   2  0  1  0  0  22
03 Phillip, Anthony....    1-6    0-3    3-3    1  2  3   3   5  1  0  1  1  11
04 Cole, Keaton........    1-4    0-2    0-0    1  1  2   1   2  2  0  0  1  11
05 Sumler, Trey........    4-4    3-3    5-7    1  1  2   2  16  0  2  0  0  16
32 King, Tawaski.......    0-2    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   5   0  0  3  0  0   9
33 Hollis, Ishmael.....    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  2  0  1   7
40 Ross, Preston.......    2-4    1-1    0-0    0  3  3   3   5  1  0  0  2  14
44 Smithson, Sam.......    1-2    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   3   2  0  0  0  0   6
   TEAM................                         3  2  5
   Totals..............   23-57   8-23  10-19  10 19 29  32  64 13 14  1  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-24 37.5%   2nd Half: 14-33 42.4%   Game: 40.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-9  44.4%   2nd Half:  4-14 28.6%   Game: 34.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-3  66.7%   2nd Half:  8-16 50.0%   Game: 52.6%    6


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HOME TEAM: Clemson 1-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
45 Grant, Jerai........ f  3-4    0-0    3-5    3  1  4   3   9  1  0  0  1  19
31 Booker, Devin....... c  6-8    1-2    3-3    3  4  7   0  16  2  0  0  0  25
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  1-2    1-2    4-6    0  0  0   4   7  0  0  1  0  12
05 Smith, Tanner....... g  5-7    1-3    1-6    1  6  7   3  12  4  1  1  2  34
11 Young, Andre........ g  4-6    2-3    0-0    0  0  0   1  10  4  0  0  1  21
01 Johnson, Noel.......    1-5    0-3    4-4    0  3  3   2   6  0  3  0  0  19
03 Anderson, Zavier....    1-2    0-0    0-2    0  1  1   3   2  0  1  0  1  11
04 Baize, Jonah........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   3
10 Baciu, Catalin......    2-2    0-0    2-6    1  3  4   2   6  0  1  0  0   9
12 Stanton, Cory.......    1-4    1-2    1-3    0  0  0   3   4  1  1  0  0  18
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    0-0    0-0    1-5    0  0  0   0   1  0  2  0  1   8
24 Jennings, Milton....    4-7    0-2    6-6    2  2  4   3  14  4  1  2  1  21
   TEAM................                         1  5  6
   Totals..............   28-47   6-17  25-46  11 26 37  24  87 16 11  4  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-26 57.7%   2nd Half: 13-21 61.9%   Game: 59.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-10 40.0%   2nd Half:  2-7  28.6%   Game: 35.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  9-16 56.3%   2nd Half: 16-30 53.3%   Game: 54.3%   10


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Officials: Jamie Luckie, Louie Andrakakos, Ron Tyburski
Technical fouls: Western Carolina-None. Clemson-Grant, Jerai.
Attendance: 7920
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Western Carolina..............   24   40  -   64
Clemson.......................   43   44  -   87

Points in the paint-WCU 14,CU 42. Points off turnovers-WCU 18,CU 18.
2nd chance points-WCU 11,CU 15. Fast break points-WCU 2,CU 12.
Bench points-WCU 30,CU 33. Score tied-2 times. Lead changed-1 time.
Last FG-WCU 2nd-01:35, CU 2nd-00:32.
Largest lead-WCU by 3 1st-19:47, CU by 31 2nd-05:47.

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