In the unofficial reopening of Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday, Clemson manhandled Division II Lander University 105-49 in the only exhibition game of the preseason.
“It was certainly nice to be in the new building,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said afterwards. “It was nice to have a game in which we controlled from start to finish.”
Gabe DeVoe led the Tigers with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He was also 4-of-7 from three-point range. The Tigers shot 57.4 percent from the field as a team, while holding Lander to 28.8 percent from the floor and forcing 25 turnovers.
“I was really pleased with our guys’ defensive effort,” Brownell said. “From the outset, I thought we sustained it very well. Then to come out after halftime and challenge our guys, let’s make sure the first four minutes we defend like we need to. I thought we did a really good job, especially with a lot of individual defense.”
The Tigers will open the 2016-’17 regular season next Friday when they host Georgia in the first official game in the newly renovated Coliseum. Littlejohn had a $63.5 million facelift last year, including the brand new Swann Pavilion which houses both the men’s and the women’s programs.
“It felt a little different. It really did,” Brownell said about playing a game in the new Littlejohn. “Not walking out of the tunnel and your bench is right there, instead you walk across the way and kind of where our bench is now feels different. It feels like the end zones are closer and some of it, the steepness of the end zones, so it feels like those people are right there … Yes in a lot of ways it did feel different. Certainly, I thought the atmosphere was pretty good for an exhibition and hopefully, it will be great for Georgia.”
The Tigers led 55-15 at the break as Clemson fans got a first look, not just at the new Littlejohn, but some of the new players like point guard Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed. Mitchell was 4-of-5 in the first 20 minutes and scored nine of his 15 points. He also had five assists.
Reed had four assists and scored eight first-half points on 3-of-3 shooting. He finished the game with 11 points.
Jaron Blossomgame, who returned to Clemson for his senior season, played just 22 minutes and finished the game with eight points and had three rebounds.
The Tigers shot 58 percent from the floor in the opening half. Avry Holmes, who scored 16 points, had 12 first-half points on 4-of-5 shooting. He was 2-of-3 from behind the arc.
Clemson increased its lead in the second half as everyone got into the act. In all, 12 Tigers played and 10 of those 12 players scored. The Tigers shot 41 percent from three-point range, while Lander was 4-for-19 from behind the arc.
Clemson made 13 three-pointers on 33 attempts.
“It was just fun to see guys making shots,” Brownell said. “I thought we shared the ball and made a bunch of threes early which opened some things for us. We had a couple of turnovers that happen in games like this when you are playing fast. But I’m very pleased with the way our guys approached tonight.”
The Bearcats were led by J.R. Washington, who scored 25 points. He also had four rebounds and two assists.
Hudson suspended indefinitely. Sophomore guard Ty Hudson has been suspended from game action indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
“Ty’s recent behavior has fallen short of the standard we require of a Clemson men’s basketball player,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said in a statement.
Hudson averaged 2.4 points per game in 23 appearances as a freshman last year.