Tevin Mack scored a game-high 17 points and gathered nine rebounds.
Tevin Mack scored a game-high 17 points and gathered nine rebounds.

Tigers finish strong to pull away from Colgate

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CLEMSON, S.C. – In a game of runs, the Clemson University men's basketball team used a late 19-6 run to pull away from Colgate at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday. Clemson won 81-68 in a non-conference matchup that featured four different Clemson players scoring in double figures.

The Tigers (2-1) were efficient on offense in the victory, shooting 51.6 percent from the floor and making the most of Colgate's 18 turnovers. The Tigers amassed 30 points off turnovers and racked up 46 points in the paint. Clemson also outrebounded Colgate by a margin of nine boards.

Tevin Mack was the leading scorer on the afternoon with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Mack was a force to be reckoned with on the glass too, corralling a game-high nine rebounds. Freshman Al-Amir Dawes scored 16 points to go along with his four assists, and Aamir Simms tallied 12 points and eight rebounds. In addition, John Newman III scored nine points and accrued a career-best seven rebounds, and freshman Chase Hunter finished with 10 points. Colgate's leading scorer was Tucker Richardson, who registered 16 points.

Clemson's first three baskets of the game were three consecutive 3-pointers from Mack. The Tigers used a 9-0 run to take a 28-19 lead at the 5:47 mark of the first half, a half that contained several runs. Colgate put together a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to two points before Clemson closed out the first half on an 8-2 run.

The Raiders (1-1) were able to battle back after trailing 38-30 at the intermission and took the lead during the course of the second half. Clemson remained composed, though, and relied on fast-break buckets and post play to retake the lead and pull away from Colgate. A corner 3-ball from Dawes effectively iced the game, putting the Tigers ahead 74-66 with 1:53 remaining.

With the 81-68 victory in the books, Clemson will now turn its attention toward the Detroit Mercy Titans. Following a weeklong layoff, the Tigers will return to action against the Titans on Sunday, Nov. 17. The matchup at Littlejohn is scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. and will air on ACC Network Extra.

Head Coach Brad Brownell

Opening Statement:

“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys for finishing the week strong after the heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech. We put a lot of energy and effort into that, and it was very emotionally draining. The last five or six days. They’ve shown grit and hung in there. They’ve been focused and trying to learn and get better. It helped to play well against Presbyterian.”

“I thought we played very well (this afternoon). Our first half was outstanding, to have an eight-point lead and hold those guys to 30. Obviously, the difference in the game was their 18 turnovers. To get a group of older guys, four of them returning starters off a really good team, to turn the ball over 18 times and convert that into 30 points was really the key to the game.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of our players for the way they competed and kept fighting because it did get hard in the second half, and they [Colgate] showed why they are really good. They made five threes in their first seven possessions. They were cuttin’ us up a little bit, their passing was elite, and their post-player was very hard to guard one-on-one. They executed very well and then we kind of got our minds back in a good place the last eight minutes and really played outstanding.”

On forcing 18 turnovers and 13 steals:

“I told our guys we have to be really active and use our length. They’re going to run some good stuff, they’re going to get a back-cut layup every once and awhile and they’re going to hit some threes, it’s going to happen, but we just have to keep playing hard.”

“That’s just effort, playing with activity level and high hands, competing on every possession, and that was the difference, the deflections and getting some easy baskets off of them.”

On his freshmen guards only committing two turnovers:

“They did a good job, Al played really well, 16 points and four assists and only one turnover. I think it was nice to see him bounce back, he didn’t play as well against Presbyterian. This is invaluable, the experience these guys are getting.”

On the gritty play of Aamir Simms and help from the team’s bench play:

“I think Aamir Simms played with tremendous heart, rebounding and we’re a small team, and he’s in their fighting for offensive rebounds and extra possessions. Chase [Hunter] and John Newman were driving to the bucket, Hunter [Tyson] and Khavon [Moore] came in and gave us great minutes along with Curran [Scott] off the bench. It was Hunter Tyson's best game and he will get a lot more minutes off of that.”

Tevin Mack

On Clemson’s offensive performance:

It felt good, but, more importantly, it felt good to get the win at home against a good team. It felt good for us to go out there and put some things together that we had been working on all week. Today felt good for us.”

On the game plan to attack the basket:

“With the defense they play, the drives from the top [of the key] were the most open drives we were going to get. Coach [Brownell] told us that all week going into the game. We were able to take advantage of those drives from the top, attack, get downhill and get some finishes towards the basket in the second half.”

On finding a fit on a new team:

“It’s a fine line between fitting in and wanting to do too much. I never want to do too much, so I’m definitely trying to find that niche, find that role. I think it’s about getting better every game, finding that role and getting more comfortable out there with my teammates.”

Aamir Simms

On the late second-half run by the Tigers:

“I think we had to take a breather and think for a second. We kind of had flashbacks to Tuesday against Virginia Tech, and in some of those situations [on Tuesday], we kind of panicked and got sped up. I think the difference between Tuesday and today is that we slowed down, saw the defense, made the right reads and were able to get better shots. That led to us going on those runs that we had late in the second half.”

On the upcoming extended break:

“Being a young team, it was a very tough week for us. A lot of the guys have never played three games in a week against tough opponents. I think it was really big for us to have this week. We have a whole week until we play again on Sunday, and it gives us a chance to decompress, learn from what we did this past week, learn from our mistakes and apply them to the game.”

On offensive rebounding:

“I pride myself on beating the glass. That’s been a big goal of mine this year is to continue to rebound for my team. With the presence of Eli [Thomas] being gone, we’re not that big, so, for me, I have to be that dog, that guy to get the boards. Tevin outrebounded me; he had nine, so for him to also step up like that is really key for us. For me, personally, getting those rebounds definitely got me going because I consider myself as a dog. Dogs start to get themselves going: by the gritty plays, the plays that no one else wants to make. That’s the plays you have to make for your team in order to win.”

On asserting his role:

“Honestly, in the first half I was getting ahead of myself. I was taking quick shots and not really slowing down or seeing the defense. In the second half, once I slowed down and started do what I do and play my game, that’s when everything came to me a little easier.”

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