Smith ties a career-high with 17 points to help Tigers knock off Eagles


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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has seen his team struggle offensively this season, and knew he had to get more out of senior swingman Tanner SmithTanner Smith
Sr. Guard
#5 6-5, 210
Alpharetta, GA

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so he challenged the Georgia native this week to be more aggressive.

Smith took that challenge to heart, matching his career high of 17 points and fueling a 12-0 run to start the second half as the Tigers (5-4) defeated Winthrop (4-7) 60-40 at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

Smith said he knows the Tigers will rely on him as much as they do fellow senior Andre YoungAndre Young
Sr. Guard
#11 5-9, 175
Albany, GA

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, who pitched in 15 points.

“Coach challenged me to be more aggressive, and to come out and look for my shot more,” Smith said afterward. “He told me that this team, especially with all of the younger players, really needed me to step up and score some points and be a leader along with Andre.”

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said he was proud of how his team responded.

“We’ve had a great week academically with finals,” Brownell said. “I was pleased with how
focused our guys were in terms of taking care of business with school and
doing things the right way, showing some maturity. They were also able to
compartmentalize when there was basketball and focus on that. I thought we
got better over the course of the last ten days or two weeks. This was a
good win for us. Winthrop can be a dangerous team. Their guards can really
score. I thought we did an unbelievable job defensively. To win a
low-possession game by twenty was pretty good play.”

The Tigers jumped on top of the Eagles early. Senior center Bobo Baciu made his first career start and had four quick points as the Tigers jumped on top 15-4 at the 13:34 mark of the first half.

The Eagles would eventually close to within four at 22-18 on a jumper by Andre Jones at the 6:53 mark, but Tanner Smith hit two tough jumpers and Rod HallRod Hall
Fr. Guard
#4 6-1, 210
Augusta, GA

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hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left in the half as the Tigers led 31-24 at intermission.


Smith and the Tigers came out on fire to start the second half, with Smith hitting two quick free throws and then a 3-pointer just a few seconds later as Clemson ran out to the 36-24 just a minute into the half. A short 42 seconds later Young hit a 3-pointer and then Booker followed with a layup that quickly made it 41-24 Clemson just three minutes into the half. Booker completed the 12-0 run to start the half a few seconds later, but Andre Jones finally got the Eagles on the board with a runner at the 15:07 mark.

Winthrop scratched back to within 16 points a few times over the next few minutes, but a K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
Fr. Guard
#32 6-5, 190
Birmingham, AL

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3-pointer with 9:28 remaining put Clemson back on top – this time with a 21-point lead – at 52-31. The Tigers were able to cruise the rest of the way.

Brownell said fast starts at the beginning of the game and at the beginning of the second half were crucial.

“I thought our guys really were good starting the game, and they came out
of halftime well,” he said. “They just played with some good poise. We had a couple
too many turnovers in the second half, but we were much better about being
aggressive and getting to the free throw line, which has been a real
problem for us. Hopefully, that will improve.”

The Tigers held Andre Jones – Winthrop’s leading scorer at 19.2 points per game – to just 12 points as Winthrop shot just 23.8% from the field in the second half.

“Tanner [Smith] started on him and Rod [Hall] moved over to guard him,” Brownell said. “He’s a guy that’s a shot-maker. He makes off-balance shots and he makes
out-of-rhythm shots. I think Tanner’s size was good in this one. We just
never let him get into a flow. If he made one, he didn’t make another one
right on top of it. He made a couple later after we had the lead.”




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