Clemson takes Cayman Islands Classic opener

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(USA TODAY Sports-Orlando Ramirez)
(USA TODAY Sports-Orlando Ramirez)

No. 16 Clemson improved to 4-0 on the season by holding on late in a 72-69 win over Akron (3-1) to start the Cayman Islands Classic on Monday.

Brad Brownell's Tigers led by as much as 15 points in the second half but Akron cut the lead to four with under three to go with an 8-2 run. Clemson extended the lead to as much as nine points in the final seconds then and Akron hit a 3-pointer with a second left to make the score closer.

A quartet of Tigers scored in double-figures with Shelton Mitchell (22), Marcquise Reed (16), Elijah Thomas (15) and Aamir Simms (12). Thomas added a game-best 12 rebounds for the double-double.

Clemson will play Georgia (3-1) on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. (airing on WatchStadium's Facebook Live). The winner of that game moves on to a primetime championship matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Tigers are off to a 4-0 start for a second-straight season, coming off of a Sweet 16 run in 2017-18.

Notes per Clemson release: Clemson starts 4-0 for the just the second time under Brad Brownell … Clemson moves to 2-0 all-time against Akron (both games played outside the continental United States) … Brad Brownell wins his 153rd game at Clemson – leaving him four wins shy of passing Bill Foster for second all-time in program history … Shelton Mitchell scored a team-high and season-high 22 points … the total was Mitchell’s sixth 20-point game of his career … Mitchell finished with nine free throw makes –– tying his career best … Mitchell tied his career-best with four steals in the contest … Mitchell’s 15 shot attempts tied a career high … Elijah Thomas notched his 12th career double-double (posted nine last season) … Thomas grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds … Aamir Simms extended his streak of double-digit scoring to four-straight games (three such games all of last season) … Simms also extended his streak of games in which he has hit his first 3-point attempt to four-straight contests.

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