Once again Clemson used a strong second half as they defeated NC State 60-50. Clemson was down by 19 in the first half and made a big run before the half to cut the lead to five. The 19 point comeback was the biggest ever for the Tigers in an ACC game in Littlejohn.
“I have been part of some games where we have come back like this. I have also been part of games where we lost a 20 point lead,” said Brownell.
Demontez Stitt led the Tigers with 17 points. Jerai Grant had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bryan Narcisse started in place of Tanner Smith and gave the Tigers nine points and five critical rebounds. Milton Jennings also scored nine including two critical three’s.
“They don’t have a clear cut superstar, but they know how to play hard. This isn’t a young team; they have plenty of guys that have been here before,” said Sidney Lowe.
Clemson finished the night shooting 43 percent from the field and 23 percent from three. The Pack shot 40 percent from the field and 31 percent from three.
The Pack jumped to an early 5-0 lead. Jerai Grant put the Tigers on the board with a jumper from the free-throw line with 16:40 to go in the half.
NC State continued to surge building the lead to 12-2. The Tigers went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to six at 12-6. The Pack went on a 6-2 run and built the lead back to ten at 18-8 with 10:42 to go in the first half. The lead continued to climb as State built the lead to 15. Clemson continued to struggle as the Pack built the lead to 31-12 with 6:05 to go in the half.
“We just got rocked early. NC State played really well. I didn’t think our defense was terrible, but they made shots,” said Brownell.
Milton Jennings hit a three with 5:11 to go to cut the lead to 31-17. Andre Young cut the lead to 32-23 with a three with 2:50 to go in the half. Clemson continued the surge and cut the lead to three before the Pack scored in the final seconds. At the half the Tigers trailed 34-29. Clemson ended the first half on a 17-3 run.
Jerai Grant led the Tigers in the first half with eight points and five rebounds. Bryan Narcisse had six points at the half while Andre Young added five. Clemson shot 39 percent in the first half and only 25 percent from three. NC State hit 54 percent in the first half and 38 percent from three.
The Pack opened the second half with a 4-0 run to stretch the lead back to 9. Clemson battled back and cut the lead to one at 44-43 when Milton Jennings hit a three-pointer with 9:22 to go.
Clemson finally gained the lead on a layup by Grant with 5:43 to go in the game. Jerai was fould on the play and after hitting the free-throw Clemson had the lead 50-48. After a stop by the Tiger’s defense, Demontez Stitt scored a three the old fashioned way to stretch the lead to five.
The Tigers finished the game on a 17-2 run and the game was not in doubt in the final two minutes.
“We won the game with our defense in the last 28 or 30 minutes,” said Brownell.
The Tigers moved to 14-6 on the season and 3-3 in the ACC. Clemson plays Florida State Saturday afternoon in Littlejohn.