Cold second half dooms Tigers in loss to Gamecocks

by - Senior Writer -
Photo: Jeff Blake / USAT

Clemson scored just 15 second-half points and had just two players in double figures as South Carolina outscored the Tigers 40-15 in the final frame in a 68-45 thrashing in Columbia Friday night at Colonial Life Arena.

Clemson(6-4) ended the first half on a nice run and actually held a 30-28 lead at intermission, but went cold in the second half and never mounted a threat to South Carolina (6-3).

The Tigers went scoreless over six minutes in the middle of the second half, and the Gamecocks scored 17 over the same period to lead 61-37 with just over six minutes to go. After making just 1-of-9 3-pointers in the first half, South Carolina made 6 of its first 11 shots behind the arc in the second half.

“I think they turned it up another notch in the second half,” Brad Brownell said. “They made three threes in a row that really blew the game open. Offensively it was hard for us, once they got the crowd into the game and got some momentum it was tough sledding for us.”

The Tigers were facing their third consecutive SEC opponent - they had victories over Arkansas and Auburn in the past two weeks - and had defeated South Carolina the previous two seasons. However, big man Landry NnokoLandry Nnoko
Jr. Center
#35 6-10, 255
Montverde, FL

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had more fouls (4) than points as the Tigers were unable to mount an inside threat.

Clemson was led by Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
RS So. Forward
#5 6-7, 215
Alpharetta, GA

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's 14 points, while Damarcus HarrisonDamarcus Harrison
Sr. Guard
#21 6-4, 205
Greenwood, SC

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had 10. Point guard Rod HallRod Hall
Sr. Guard
#12 6-1, 205
Augusta, GA

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had five more turnovers and scored just two points.


Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
Opening Statement
First just congratulations to Frank [Martin] and his team. I thought they played very well, really both halves. I'm proud of the way our guys responded at the end of the first half and made a good run to actually steal the lead. I don't know if that was actually a bad thing in some ways. I don't know if some of our guys got a little complacent. But I think [South Carolina] turned it up another notch in the second half and made three 3s right in a row that really just blew the game open. We had a hard time, offensively it was hard for us. They did some good things and once they got the crowd into the game it was a tough slip for us the rest of the way.

On the 3 pointers in the second half
Neither team is a great 3-point shooting team. I think we're both a little better than our stats show. The zone certainly helped us in the first half. When you don't score like we didn't score that puts an awful lot of pressure on your defense. It just puts them in transition and makes things easier for them. Certainly, the 3s by [Duane] Notice were significant in a game like this.

R-Sophomore forward Jaron Blossomgame
On the second half
I feel like we got comfortable after halftime. Coach said they hit us in the mouth first early in the first half. Then we took the lead 30-28 at halftime so guys kind of relaxed and felt like we'd be okay in the second half. The second half started and we started off with two turnovers. They made more tough plays down the stretch.

South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
Opening Statement
I'm just really proud of our guys. We played very good offense at the end of the second half. [Clemson] is a good basketball team. They're really good. They have upperclassmen. We had five bad offensive possessions that they converted into basket, basket, basket, basket. That gave them life and kind of put us on our heels a little bit. We should have attacked their zone differently. We made the adjustment at halftime. By not attacking the zone the right way it kind of got the game slow. Laimonas [Chatkevicius], we challenged him at halftime. He had zero rebounds at the half. The reason we came out in the second half and played as well as we did was because he was the guy who initiated the whole thing.

On shooting so many 3s
Getting the ball inside the paint against [Clemson head coach] Brad [Brownell]'s team is not easy. It's hard. We had to run an offense. I thought the 3s we missed against their zone in the first half were on me. I didn't prepare our team as well as I needed to to attack a zone for the last two weeks. We spoke about that at half and we made an adjustment and I thought we got better shots because we attacked the zone better. We have guys who can make shots. They just have to see the ball go into the basket.

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