Reed returns to lineup as Clemson beats South Carolina again


by - Senior Writer -
Clemson celebrates an early basket at South Carolina (Photo by Jeff Blake, USAT)
Clemson celebrates an early basket at South Carolina (Photo by Jeff Blake, USAT)

COLUMBIA – Welcome back, Marcquise Reed.

Reed missed three games with a left knee injury, but returned in a big way Saturday, scoring 20 points to lead Clemson to a 78-68 victory over arch-rival South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena. Clemson improves to 9-3 with the win, while South Carolina falls to 4-7.

Clemson has won three in a row in the series and has a 37-18 record against the Gamecocks left the Atlantic Coast Conference following the 1971-72 season. Since the Gamecocks’ departure from the ACC, Clemson has had four separate winning streaks of at least six games in the series, most recently
from 2004-10.

In its last nine games against members of the Southeastern Conference, the Tigers are 8-1, including 3-0 against South Carolina. Clemson has won 29 times in history over South Carolina in Columbia, second-most wins in program history on the road over another opponent, trailing only 41 all-time road wins over Furman.

David Skara added 14 for the Tigers, while Elijah Thomas and Shelton Mitchell each added 11. Clyde Trapp added 10 points as the other Tiger in double digits. Skara led Clemson with eight rebounds. Clemson was 8-20 from 3-point range while South Carolina was just 4-16.

Clemson jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Aamir Sims, but the Gamecocks responded with 10 of the next 11 points to take a 10-4 lead barely four minutes into the game. Both teams struggled from the field over the next five minutes, but a 3-pointer by Hassani Gravett at the 11:53 mark gave the Gamecocks their biggest lead at 19-12.

The Tigers came roaring back. Clyde Trapp hit a runner to make it 19-14 and Shelton Mitchell nailed a jumper to make it 19-16. Reed followed with a deep three that tied the score at 19-19 at the 10-:09 mark.

An old-fashioned 3-point play by Chris Silva gave the Gamecocks a 30-29 lead at the 5:09 mark, and it was at that point the Tigers went on a 16-4 run to close out the half. John Newman sparked the run with a 3-pointer and David Skara’s 3-pointer at the 2:42 mark made it 40-32. Reed hit two free throws to give Clemson a 45-32 lead with 12 seconds left in the half, but the Gamecocks got a jumper from Tre Campbell with seven seconds remaining and Clemson led 45-34 at intermission.

Thomas hit two mid-range jumpers to start the second half and Clemson twice held leads of 15 points – at 51-36 and at 54-39. The Tigers quickly got into foul trouble, however, and the Gamecocks went on an 18-9 run – punctuated by a fast-break dunk by Keyshawn Bryant – that made it 63-57 Clemson with 8:22 to play in the game.

Four minutes later, a free throw by AJ Lawson trimmed the Clemson lead to just five at 67-62, and Clemson later held a 71-66 lead when Reed hit a floater in the lane that made it 73-66 with 1:41 to play. Reed promptly picked the pocket of Bryant and Clemson had a chance to perhaps put the game out of reach, but Skara missed everything on a wide-open 3-pointer. Chris Silva backed down Thomas for a short jumper on the offensive end and the Gamecocks called a timeout trailing 73-68 with 42 seconds to play.

The Gamecocks fouled Skara on the inbounds and he hit both shots to make it 75-68 with 41 seconds to play, and Thomas’ block on the defensive end led to a Sims dunk on the other end that made it 77-68 with 25 seconds remaining. Gravett then turned the ball over, and Reed hit one free throw that made it 78-68 with 15 seconds left on the clock. The Gamecocks missed another long-range jumper and Mitchell rebounded it with five seconds left to play.

Clemson returns to action on Dec. 30th, hosting Lipscomb at 3 pm.


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