Reed scores 19, Clemson cruises past Asheville 83-57
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Coming off its best win of the season at Ohio State, Clemson avoided any let down with a dominant performance Sunday.
Marcquise Reed drilled five 3-pointers and scored 19 points to help the Tigers knock off UNC Asheville 83-52.
“We certainly felt really good about the way we played at Ohio State,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “For our guys to come back and to compete and play really hard (was important). Our aggressiveness and competitive spirit was really high today. We kind of imposed our will on them and that’s not easy to do (on UNC Asheville).”
Clemson (7-1) shot 52 percent from the field and also got 17 points and 10 rebounds from Donte Grantham.
After putting up a season-high 22 points in Big Ten/ACC Challenge victory over the Buckeyes, Reed continued to find open shots and made 7 of 12 from the field Sunday.
“I think I’m starting to find my rhythm,” Reed said. “I think our chemistry is really picking up. Everybody knows which spot everybody will be in.”
Point guard Shelton Mitchell scored his fewest points (6) since the season opener on Nov. 10 but he dished out six assists, which ties his season-high.
“We’ve got great players,” said Grantham, who notched his second double-double of the season. “Our chemistry on and off the floor is indescribable. We’re just taking one game at a time and looking forward to playing again.”
The Tigers took away the Bulldogs’ hot 3-point shooting, dominated the scoring in the paint 48-26 and scored 10 points off fast breaks.
Ahmad Thomas had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (5-3), who shot 34 percent and turned the ball over 16 times, which turned into 19 points for Clemson.
Clemson got off to a sluggish start, trailing 8-2 early, but the Tigers got within a point a minute later before going on an 11-5 run. Clemson led 27-24 with three minutes left in the first half before closing the half with a 9-2 run to take a 36-26 lead.
The Tigers kept the run going by outscoring the Bulldogs 14-4 in the first six minutes of the second half. Clemson never let off the gas, outscoring the visitors 47-26 in the second half, and led by as many as many as 34 points in the closing seconds of the game.
“Really pleased with how we played,” Brownell said. ”(UNC Asheville) was a very good team. They’ll probably win 20 games or so this year. This was a very good win and a very good performance.”
UNC Asheville: The Bulldogs came into the game ranked second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (47.3), but they were held to a season-low 26 percent from behind the arc. After shooting over 50 percent in their previous two contests, UNC Asheville went 5 of 19.
Clemson: The Tigers start the season 7-1 for the first time since 2013-14. Clemson hasn’t gone this far into a season before recording its second loss since 2008-09, when they won their first 16 games.
More than 20 Clemson football players and coaches were recognized at halftime a day after winning the ACC championship and claiming the top spot in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers will be facing No. 4 Alabama on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Down 6-0 less than two minutes into the game, Brownell called a timeout and told his team “I told you they were good” and to “wake up.” The Tigers responded by holding the Bulldogs to two points in the next six minutes.
UNC Asheville heads to Furman on Tuesday.
Clemson gets nearly a week off before hosting Samford on Saturday.