Tigers end three-game skid with 61-40 victory over Savannah St.

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CLEMSON – Senior forward Jerai Grant didn’t start Friday night’s home game against Savannah St., and by the time he entered the game early in the first half, the game was already in hand.

Grant didn’t start for disciplinary reasons, but he came off the bench to score 15 points as Clemson defeated Savannah State 61-40 at Littlejohn Coliseum to break a three-game losing streak.

The Tigers (6-4) jumped out to a 26-5 lead in the first half, held the visiting Tigers to just five points in the first nine minutes of the second half, and overall held Savannah State to 11 field goals and 22.9 percent shooting from the field.

Grant, usually a starter, began the game on the bench but made 5-of-6 shots to pace the Clemson inside attack. He sat for the first 7:26 of the contest.

“Jerai was late this week, and that is not acceptable,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “When he entered the game, he played well. He has been playing well and gaining confidence, his game is improving. Now, we need him to improve as a leader.”

Clemson's man-to-man defense frustrated Savannah State, which struggled to score most of the night. The drought early in the second half was made even worse when Cory Stanton’s 3-pointer gave Clemson a 54-25 lead with 11:15 remaining in the game.

Tanner Smith scored 11 points and Andre Young added 10 for Clemson. Milton Jennings grabbed 10 rebounds as Clemson held a 44-32 edge on the boards.

Jovonni Shuler scored 23 points on 7-for-18 shooting for Savannah State (1-12).

“Savannah State is a tough team; they hang with people for a long time,” Brownell said. “They are able to make runs to keep the game close which makes them a dangerous team. For the most part I feel we did a good job of getting the ball where we wanted to and finishing in the post. I was impressed with our defense. We focused on taking pride in not being scored on. The first half was great and the second half was good.”

Guard Zavier Anderson, a walk-on from Mauldin High School, got the start as part of a three-guard lineup that included Tanner Smith and Andre Young. Point guard Demontez Stitt is recovering from a knee injury and is unable to play, but Anderson acquitted himself well, playing 33 minutes. He scored just two points, but grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists.

“Zavier guards the ball well and shares the ball well,” Brownell said. “I knew there was going to be a time we would need him to play. This was very good for him; he can be a productive player for us.”

The Tigers return to action Sunday against UNC-Greensboro, 0-9 with losses to Florida State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Wake Forest.

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