Tigers top Terriers, 78-70


by - Senior Writer -
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Jerai Grant brings the crowd to its feet with a big dunk.

Brownell post-game press conference | Boxscore | Photos

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said all he wanted for his birthday was a win over the Wofford Terriers.

Brownell celebrated his 42nd birthday on Monday, and the Tigers gave him the present he wanted as Clemson hung on for a 78-70 victory over the Terriers in front of 7,900 fans at Littlejohn Coliseum, pushing the Tigers to 2-0 on the young season.

Wofford was an NCAA Tournament team last season, a campaign that saw the program win 26 games before losing to then-No. 16 Wisconsin in the first round of the tournament, and despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half, didn’t go away quietly.

Wofford pulled to within six points late after two Clemson starters fouled out, but the Tigers hit enough free throws down the stretch to earn the win.

“Games like that make you feel older,” Brownell joked in his postgame press conference. “This was obviously a very good win. This is one of those wins that probably looks even better in March. Wofford is a very experienced group, and they play very well together.”

The Tigers came out raining 3-pointers in the first half, including a stretch of three straight at one point, two by Andre Young, to give Clemson a 20-8 lead just over seven minutes into the game.

That lead was eventually stretched out to its biggest point of the first half – at 16 – when Bryan Narcisse hit a short jumper in the lane to give Clemson a 36-20 advantage with 3:40 remaining in the first half.

However, the Tigers started picking up fouls – four players had two each in the half – and Wofford was able to pull within 10 at the break. The Terriers’ Brad Loesing scored seven of Wofford’s final nine points, including a 3-pointer, and Clemson led 40-30 at intermission.

Wofford hung around to begin the second half, and their zone defense began to give the Tiger offense trouble, leading to an 8-2 run. During the run, Wofford’s Kevin Giltner hit two three-pointers – the last one from the left corner – to trim Clemson’s advantage to just nine at 55-46 with 9:35 remaining.

“Even when they got down, they weren’t going away,” Brownell said. “I thought our guys did a good job in the second half of finding ways to score and execute.”

The Tigers were able to extend the lead to 13, at 65-52, on a Booker left-hander in the lane with 3:30 remaining, but the Terriers refused to go away.

Cameron Rundles hit two 3-pointers, the second with just under two minutes remaining, to pull Wofford to within seven points at 67-60, the closest they had been since early in the first half.

Two Young free throws put Clemson back on top at 69-60 with 1:51 remaining, but Tanner Smith fouled out on the Terriers’ next trip down the floor. His foul was on Wofford’s Tim Johnson, who promptly drained both free throws to make it 69-62 with 1:38 left in the contest.

Freshman guard Cory Stanton, who replaced Smith on the floor, was fouled almost as soon as the ball was put in play, and he hit the biggest shots of his young Clemson career as he sank both free throws to give the Tigers a 71-62 lead.

A 3-pointer by the Terriers was just off the mark, and guard Demontez Stitt grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately. He hit one of his two free throws to put the Tigers back up by double digits at 72-62 with just over a minute left.

Jerai Grant, who scored 11 points in the second half, fouled out on the ensuing possession, and Jamar Diggs hit both foul shots to bring Wofford back to within eight, at 72-64, with 1:03 left on the game clock.

Booker hit one of two free throws to make it 73-64, and the Terriers turned it over without getting off a shot on their next trip down the floor. Stanton wound up with the loose ball, was fouled, and drilled both shots from the line to make it 75-64 with 52 seconds left.

The Terriers scored on back-to-back trips down the court, sandwiched around two missed foul shots by Milton Jennings, to make it 75-68 with 28.5 seconds left in the game. Young sank one foul shot to make it 76-68, but the Terriers hit two more free throws to pull within 76-70 with 19.6 seconds remaining.

Wofford fouled Jennings with 14.3 seconds left, and his two foul shots effectively put the game out of reach at 78-70. Jennings grabbed the rebound on Wofford’s final shot, and dribbled out the clock to give the Tigers the eight-point win.

“Even if we smack them in the mouth early, they weren’t going to give up,” Brownell said. “We got after them and played pretty well early. We made shots in the beginning and we got up by 16, but they were not giving up. The second half, they did get into a better rhythm and it was a little bit of a fight to the end.”

Grant wound up with 13 points to pace five Tigers in double figures, and Brownell said he was proud of the way Grant responded after a tough first half.

“He played really well,” he said. “He got some big-time rebounds above the rim. It was disappointing in that he played well early and then got his second foul and had to sit the rest of the first half. I thought he showed maturity coming back after that long layoff and played a great second half.”

Wofford head coach Mike Young said he was proud that his team didn’t fold after getting down early.

“They have great players,” Young said of the Tigers. “They made some unbelievable shots. Our kids were
ready, our kids were juiced. That was the most prolific explosion of offense I’ve seen in college basketball in a long time. We caught a break and slowed them down with our zone and, thank goodness, we got them out of their rhythm. I don’t feel good about 40 points in the first half and 38 points in the second half, but we’re playing a darn good basketball team.”






VISITORS: Wofford 0-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
41 Johnson, Tim........ f  3-6    0-0    3-4    3  3  6   5   9  2  4  1  1  29
42 Dahlman, Noah....... f  5-8    0-0    7-9    2  1  3   4  17  2  4  0  0  30
01 Rundles, Cameron.... g  3-5    2-3    2-2    0  4  4   3  10  1  3  0  0  31
05 Diggs, Jamar........ g  2-6    0-1    2-4    0  1  1   5   6  3  3  1  2  32
35 Loesing, Brad....... g  5-10   2-5    2-2    0  1  1   4  14  3  1  0  1  31
10 Giltner, Kevin......    2-5    2-4    0-1    0  1  1   1   6  0  1  0  0  25
21 Crowell, Drew.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   6
50 Martin, Terry.......    2-6    0-1    4-4    1  4  5   4   8  2  1  0  0  16
   TEAM................                         2  1  3
   Totals..............   22-46   6-14  20-26   8 17 25  26  70 13 17  2  4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-20 50.0%   2nd Half: 12-26 46.2%   Game: 47.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half:  4-8  50.0%   Game: 42.9%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-12 66.7%   2nd Half: 12-14 85.7%   Game: 76.9%   2,1


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HOME TEAM: Clemson 2-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
31 Booker, Devin....... f  4-8    1-2    1-2    2  2  4   3  10  0  1  0  1  28
45 Grant, Jerai........ f  5-5    0-0    3-5    1  5  6   5  13  1  1  1  1  18
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  4-9    0-2    4-6    2  4  6   3  12  2  3  0  1  35
05 Smith, Tanner....... g  3-6    1-2    0-0    1  1  2   5   7  3  0  0  3  26
11 Young, Andre........ g  2-7    2-3    5-6    1  2  3   3  11  4  1  0  1  37
01 Johnson, Noel.......    1-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   3   2  0  0  0  0   8
03 Anderson, Zavier....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
10 Baciu, Catalin......    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   0   2  0  2  1  0   4
12 Stanton, Cory.......    1-2    0-0    4-4    0  1  1   1   6  2  1  1  2  13
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    2-3    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   4  0  0  0  0   9
24 Jennings, Milton....    3-7    0-1    5-7    1  1  2   2  11  0  3  0  0  20
   TEAM................                         1     1
   Totals..............   26-50   4-11  22-30  10 19 29  25  78 12 12  3  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-29 55.2%   2nd Half: 10-21 47.6%   Game: 52.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-9  44.4%   2nd Half:  0-2   0.0%   Game: 36.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-4  100 %   2nd Half: 18-26 69.2%   Game: 73.3%   4,1


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Officials: Roger Ayers, Les Jones, William Covington
Technical fouls: Wofford-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 7900
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Wofford.......................   30   40  -   70
Clemson.......................   40   38  -   78

Points in the paint-WOFF 22,CU 38. Points off turnovers-WOFF 7,CU 30.
2nd chance points-WOFF 12,CU 9. Fast break points-WOFF 0,CU 8.
Bench points-WOFF 14,CU 25. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-WOFF 2nd-00:31, CU 2nd-03:33.
Largest lead-WOFF None, CU by 16 1st-03:53.

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