Five Tigers reach double figures as Clemson topples NC State
CLEMSON, S.C. – In a high-flying contest at Littlejohn Coliseum, the Clemson University men’s basketball team pulled out an 81-70 victory over the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday. Five different Tigers scored in double figures for the first time on the season, and Aamir Simms led the charge for Clemson with 17 points.
Clemson (7-7, 1-3 ACC) never trailed on the afternoon, using an efficient 46.9 shooting percentage to keep NC State (10-4, 1-2 ACC) at bay throughout. The Tigers sank nine 3-pointers and was a stellar 83.9 percent from the free throw line, making a season-high 26 free throws. Clemson also won the rebounding margin 34-30 and scored 16 points off turnovers. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, shot 44.1 percent from the floor and tallied 36 points in the paint. Productive passing was a theme of Clemson’s winning performance, as 18 of the Tigers’ 23 field goals were assisted.
Eight of Simms’ points came at the charity stripe, with the big man going 8-of-9 on free throws. Al-Amir Dawes also excelled at the free throw line, knocking down 9-of-10 free throws as part of a 16-point showing. Tevin Mack added 14 points to go along with his seven rebounds, and Curran Scott, who connected on three treys, also tallied 14 points. Additionally, Scott matched his career-high assists mark with four dimes. John Newman III provided Clemson with a spark via his 12 points. D.J. Funderburk led the Wolfpack with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
In the first half, Clemson made eight 3-balls and led by as many as 14 points. After the Tigers led 16-14, Clemson manufactured a 16-4 run that resulted in the Tigers leading 32-18 at the 5:24 mark. Both teams shot the ball well from the floor in the hotly contested first half, and the Wolfpack closed out the half on a 7-0 run to pull within six points of Clemson.
After sporting a 41-35 advantage at the intermission, the Tigers went back and forth with the Wolfpack throughout most of the second half. Clemson consistently attacked the basket during the course of the final 20 minutes of play and did not relent on defense. A late 7-0 run that spanned exactly two minutes of play culminated in the Tigers going up 68-58 at the 3:35 mark. Scott knocked down a clutch corner 3-pointer in the midst of that run, and Mack later iced the game with an athletic up-and-under layup made possible by an assist from Simms. The Tigers knocked down 12-of-their-last-13 free throws to secure the 81-70 victory.
The next game on the docket for the Tigers is a matchup at the Dean E. Smith Center against the North Carolina Tar Heels (8-5, 1-1). Scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11, the ACC battle will tip off at 4:30 p.m. and air on a regional sports network (RSN).