No. 22 Clemson hits century mark to beat The Citadel 100-80
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Brad Brownell's not quite ready to count on exploding scoreboards and splashy offensive outbursts for the 22nd-ranked Tigers just yet.
Marcquise Reed had 20 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as Clemson beat The Citadel 100-80 and reached 100 points for the first time in nine years Tuesday night.
Reed led six Tigers in double figures as they hit the century mark for the first time since a 102-66 win over Winthrop in November 2009, a season before Brownell arrived.
But Clemson's ninth-year coach believes the result was due more to the Bulldogs' desire to pick up the pace and shoot often rather than his team's ability to light things up.
"We certainly have some guys that can score," Brownell said. "Certainly, Marcquise and Shelton (Mitchell), that's what they do. Last year's team with everybody there was probably more potent than now. But we're hoping to get there."
This was certainly a good start for a team coming off an appearance in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
Reed led six Tigers in double figures and posted his fourth career double-double. Shelton Mitchell and Aamir Simms scored 16 points each, Elijah Thomas had 15, Clyde Trapp 13 and David Skara 11.
"They went to the Sweet 16 for a reason," Bulldogs coach Duggar Baucom said.
Clemson had only reached 90 points six previous times in Brownell's first eight seasons, four of those times coming in 2016-17 when high-scoring Jaron Blossomgame led the way.
Asked if this was the start of a trend for the typically defensive- minded Tigers, Reed smiled and said, "Hopefully."
The Citadel didn't make things easy on the Tigers down the stretch. The Bulldogs cut an 18-point, second-half deficit to 80-71 on Lew Stallworth's layup with 6:38 remaining. But Mitchell followed with a 3-pointer and two foul shots to restore the Tigers' double-digit lead.
The Citadel could not respond and fell to 0-52 all-time against ranked opponents.
Clemson is coming off its strongest season of Brownell's tenure, winning 25 games with a program-record 11 Atlantic Coast Conference victories. The Tigers reached the round of 16 for the first time in 21 years last season, and they revealed a banner in the rafters of Littlejohn Coliseum commemorating the achievement.
Stallworth had 15 points to lead the Bulldogs. Matt Frierson had 12 points off four of the team's 10 3-pointers.
The Citadel made 12 3-pointers per game last season to rank second nationally.
The Citadel hit five of its seven first-half 3-pointers in the first nine minutes and led the Tigers 24-21. Clemson closed the period on a 28-16 run to lead 49-40 at the break.
The Citadel: The Bulldogs will get a heavy dose of the road to start the season. Three of their next five games are away from home, including stops at Texas, James Madison and South Florida.
Clemson: The Tigers should have several more warmups the next few games. Clemson might not face a Power Five team for at least two weeks when it heads to the Cayman Islands Classic and could play Georgia in the second round.
THOMAS TOUGHS IT OUT
Marcquise Reed said the Tigers were certain senior forward Elijah Thomas would miss the game with an ankle injury after watching him go just 20 minutes in the team's last practice. Instead, Thomas told coach Brad Brownell he wanted to try and play. Thomas responded with 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes. Brownell said he was proud of Thomas because doctors said his bone bruise is very painful.
The victory was Brad Brownell's 150th at Clemson, a landmark considering he was a coach with one of the hottest seats in the country when the 2017-18 season began. Brownell is third all-time in Clemson wins behind Cliff Ellis (177) and Bill Foster (156).
The Citadel starts its home season against Mid-Atlantic Christian on Monday night.
Clemson plays its second straight home game when it faces North Carolina Central on Friday night.