Defense Propels Tigers Over Penn State


by - Correspondent -
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ANDERSON - Clemson continued to display the newest weapon in its early-season repertoire Tuesday night - defense. The Tigers held Penn State to just 42 percent shooting en route to a 79-70 victory over the Nittany Lions in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge at the Civic Center of Anderson. The victory improves Clemson to 3-0 for the first time since 1998-99, head coach Larry Shyatt's first season. After getting burned repeatedly from the perimeter all last season, Shyatt promised improved defense this season. Through three games his team has delivered. The Tigers' first two opponents this year - Wofford and High Point - shot a combined 38 percent (46-of-120) from the field, including 36 percent (15-of-41) from the 3-point arc. Penn State (0-4) was a little better than that Tuesday, especially in the second half when it forced the tempo in an attempt to rally from a 17-point deficit. The Nittany Lions launched 24 shots from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes, connecting on nine. But overall the improvement has been a welcome sight for Shyatt. "In the first half, especially, I thought the game was going our way in terms of how we want to play and how we want to dictate defense," Shyatt said. "Things turned a little bit when we got up about 17-18 points, and I compliment Penn State because they did what two things they had to do to get back in the game - they fouled excessively and they shot the 3-ball." The fouls, all 35 of them whistled on Penn State, sent Clemson to the line 46 times. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they managed to hit just 25 of them (54 percent) for the game. Their 15-of-31 performance in the second half. kept Shyatt's team from winning in a runaway And while the chronic free throw failures didn't come back to haunt Clemson Tuesday - Penn State never got closer than seven points in the second half - Shyatt knows they could become an issue later this season. "You want to see your warts early," Shyatt said. "If we play like we want, getting the ball inside to our big men, we're going to have to hit those free throws as the season goes on. And although he missed a couple, we have to hope the ball ends up in Ed Scott's hands most of the time." Scott almost single-handedly kept Clemson in control in the second half. The senior point guard scored 20 of his game-high 25 points after the break, finished the game with seven assists and just one turnover. He hit three of Clemson's four 3-pointers - all in the second half - and hit 7-of-10 free throws in the final 20 minutes. "I thought he was great at deciding when to go and when to pull the ball out," Shyatt said. "We can talk about individual performances tonight, but I thought Ed Scott was magnificent." Scott's play helped offset the outside shooting of Penn State's DeForrest Riley. Riley hit 6-of-9 from behind the arc for the game, including 5-of-7 during the failed second-half rally. He finished with 18 points, as did teammate Brandon Watkins. Chey Christie added 15 and Sharrod Ford 13 for the Tigers. Clemson led by as many as 17 in the first half (35-18), overcoming an early sluggishness on offense with a tough, in-your-face brand of defense on the perimeter. The Nittany Lions shot a poor 33 percent from the field (8-of-24), including just 2-of-9 from 3-point territory. The Tigers' perimeter defenders - Scott, Christie, Olu Babalola and Julian Betko - made Penn State work hard for every shot opportunity, almost always ending up with at least one hand in the face of the shooter. Penn State had trouble adjusting to Clemson's defense early, falling behind 8-0 and 15-2 before finally finding some sort of offensive rhythm. Meanwhile, Clemson built its lead by getting loose in transition as the half wore on, turning Penn State's missed shots into fast-break opportunities. Christie led the Tigers with 11 points at the break, while center Sharrod Ford battled in the paint for 8, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line.

 VISITORS: Penn State 0-4
                      TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
 ## Player Name       FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
 34 Vossekuil, B.J.... 0-0    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   2   0  0  2  0  0   6
 44 Egekeze, Ndu...... 1-3    0-0    0-2    1  2  3   4   2  0  1  0  1  25
 45 McDougald, Jason.. 0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   5   0  0  0  0  0   5
 02 Cameron, Brandon.. 0-1    0-1    2-2    0  1  1   3   2  2  2  0  0  12
 33 Riley, DeForrest.. 6-11   6-9    0-1    0  1  1   1  18  2  0  1  2  28
 01 Tate, Jamal....... 0-3    0-2    0-0    1  2  3   3   0  1  2  0  1  15
 10 Watkins, Brandon.. 7-12   2-4    2-2    0  1  1   5  18  4  2  0  0  27
 13 Chambliss, Sharif. 6-18   3-13   0-1    3  0  3   4  15  3  0  0  1  31
 21 Summers, Robert... 4-6    0-0    2-3    5  1  6   4  10  0  1  0  1  20
 22 Jagla, Jan........ 1-5    0-4    1-4    1  7  8   4   3  0  4  2  1  27
 24 Fellows, Kevin.... 1-2    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   0   2  0  0  1  0   4
    TEAM..............                      3     3
    Totals............26-61  11-33   7-15  17 15 32  35  70 12 14  4  7 200
 
 TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  8-24 33.3%   2nd Half: 18-37 48.6%   Game: 42.6%  DEADB
 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-9  22.2%   2nd Half:  9-24 37.5%   Game: 33.3%  REBS
 F Throw % 1st Half:  4-7  57.1%   2nd Half:  3-8  37.5%   Game: 46.7%   2
 
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 HOME TEAM: Clemson Tigers 3-0
                      TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
 ## Player Name       FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
 12 Babalola, Olu..... 3-9    0-1    2-6    4  2  6   4   8  1  1  0  4  30
 43 Hobbs, Chris...... 4-6    0-0    1-7    5  3  8   2   9  1  4  0  2  25
 05 Ford, Sharrod..... 3-4    0-0    7-10   3 10 13   0  13  0  0  0  0  32
 10 Scott, Edward..... 7-12   3-5    8-13   1  1  2   1  25  7  1  0  0  40
 14 Christie, Chey.... 6-11   1-3    2-2    0  1  1   3  15  1  1  0  3  30
 01 Betko, Julian..... 1-3    0-2    2-4    0  1  1   2   4  1  1  0  2  17
 21 Henderson, Ray.... 1-4    0-0    3-4    1  5  6   4   5  0  1  0  1  20
 22 Robinson, Shawan.. 0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
 33 Akingbala, Akin... 0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  1  0  0   3
 45 Douglas, Jermel... 0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
    TEAM..............                      3  1  4
    Totals............25-49   4-11  25-46  17 24 41  16  79 11 10  0 12 200
 
 TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-24 50.0%   2nd Half: 13-25 52.0%   Game: 51.0%  DEADB
 3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-3  33.3%   2nd Half:  3-8  37.5%   Game: 36.4%  REBS
 F Throw % 1st Half: 10-15 66.7%   2nd Half: 15-31 48.4%   Game: 54.3%  13
 

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