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Clemson Basketball

No. 22 Clemson basketball starts season strong with 100-80 win over The Citadel

November 6, 2018
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CLEMSON -- A new season and new Sweet Sixteen banner filled the air as Clemson basketball opened play on Tuesday night.

The 22nd-ranked Tigers defeated The Citadel Bulldogs 100-80. It was the first time since a victory over Winthrop in 2009 (290 games) that Clemson was able to put up at least 100 points.

If getting to at least 70 points means fans in attendance get free Bojangles, the a 100-point game should mean some free steaks. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell also secured his 150th win while at Clemson.

“Just super blessed to still be at Clemson and enjoy coaching here,” Brownell said after the win. “Hope to get 150 more.

“The 100 points - this is a game you have to score. They are going to create situations where you have advantages. They’re opening the floor with pressing so you gotta make plays.”
- Brad Brownell

“The 100 points - this is a game you have to score. They are going to create situations where you have advantages. They’re opening the floor with pressing so you gotta make plays.”

The Tigers were led by senior guard Marcquise Reed, who finished with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting and collected a career-high 13 rebounds. It was an impressive start to what should be a strong season for Reed. Six Tigers scored in double-figures en route to the victory.

Clemson’s starting lineup was introduced as fire was blasted into the air and that was pretty indicative of how the night would go for Brownell’s bunch. The Tigers shot 56 percent from the field and made 11 three-pointers to win comfortably.

“Just wanted to come out and set the tone in the season opener,” Reed said after the fourth double-double of his career.

Clemson did just that with strong games from its star-powered guards Reed and Shelton Mitchell, who added 16 points to Clemson’s backcourt. Get familiar with Aamir Simms and Clyde Trapp because you’re going to see them plenty as the season progresses, filling the voids left by Donte Grantham and Gabe DeVoe.

Simms (7-of-8) and Trapp (4-of-8) finished with 29 combined points. After the game, Brownell said Simms had about as good of a spring and summer as anyone in the program.

Simms (7-of-8) and Trapp (4-of-8) finished with 29 combined points. After the game, Brownell said Simms had about as good of a spring and summer as anyone in the program.

“We start working with him on his shooting last year and then Aamir, he was a sponge,” Brownell said. “You talk about working. He was just religious in there every day after workout extra to really develop a shooting stroke that you can replicate consistently. You’re seeing that.”

The Tigers led at the half with a 49-40 lead and then jumped out to a quick 8-0 run to build a 17-point lead. The Citadel, which shot 26-of-58 (45 percent) from the field, kept battling back to within single digits.

The Bulldogs were led by Lew Stallworth’s 15 points and his layup with 6:25 to go in the game cut Clemson’s lead back to nine points. Mitchell immediately answered with a three-pointer and the Tigers never looked back from there.

Clemson ended the game making five of its last six field goals. The Bulldogs struggled to find their shot and couldn’t make one jump shot in the final 6:38 of game time as Clemson’s defense wore them down.

A highlight of the night was seeing Elijah Thomas in the starting lineup for the Tigers. Brownell and Reed admitted they didn’t think he was going to be able to play tonight. Clemson has missed him on the court in recent scrimmages and exhibitions with an ankle injury, but Thomas came to the staff at shootaround and said he wanted to try and play.

His contributions were - and will continue to be - vital inside. Thomas finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds. The Tigers out-rebounded The Citadel 39-25.

Tonight was just the beginning of a new journey for Brownell and his team. There are going to be some new challenges and new players stepping into new roles on this team. But the goals are still the same.

Citadel head coach Duggar Baucom was extremely complimentary of Brownell and the program he continues to build at Clemson. He called Brownell not only one of the most underrated coaches in the ACC, but in America because of his ability to develop the players he has.

“They didn’t go to the Sweet Sixteen last year with some of the guys you read about,” Baucom said. “They are well on their way again this year.”

Clemson returns to action at home on Friday night against North Carolina Central at 7:00 PM.

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