By Staff Report.
CLEMSON, SC – The Clemson men’s basketball team defeated Queens University (NC) in its only public exhibition game of the 2011-12 season on Saturday, 68-35. The Tigers used a suffocating defense, holding Queens to 34.9 percent shooting and forcing 22 Royals turnovers. Queens was coached by Clemson alum Wes Long, a former walk-on and manager for the Tigers. Ray Henderson, a former starting forward, was on the Royals bench as an assistant coach.
“I was pleased with our defense,” said Brad Brownell, Clemson’s second-year head coach. “Usually, your defense is ahead of your offense this time of year. We’re trying to continue to have the same defensive mentality we had last year. Defensively, we were reasonably good. It’s a good starting point. Offensively, we didn’t play as well as we needed to. There were too many turnovers, but some of that was because we were playing everybody, and it’s hard to get into a flow. Once we got the lead,
we wanted to make sure we got everybody a lot of minutes.”
Clemson had a balanced scoring attack on Saturday. Tanner Smith, a starting guard, paced the Tigers with 13 points on 4-6 field goals and 4-5 free throws. He added three assists and two steals in 20 minutes. Clemson’s other double figure scorer was also a senior, center Catalin “Bobo” Baciu. He had 10 and added seven rebounds and three blocks. Devin Booker, K.J. McDaniels and Andre Young all added nine points apiece. Freshman point guard Rod Hall contributed seven off the bench.
After a Queens layup cut the lead to 7-6 early in the first half, the Tigers quickly responded with a 10-0 run. Clemson held Queens without a field goal for over six straight minutes until Nate Blackburn hit a three-pointer with 8:42 remaining in the opening period. But, Clemson countered with back-to-back three-point goals by senior backcourt mates Smith and Young, the second of which pushed the lead to 13. Hall provided a highlight in the first half when he stole the ball from Queens’ Preston
Newlin and raced to the other end for a fast break dunk. The Tigers led by a score of 34-17 at the half.
The second half opened with six straight points by Clemson, the last two courtesy of a baseline drive and strong dunk by freshman swingman McDaniels. The play brought the Tiger bench to its feet and gave Clemson a 25-point advantage. The lead stretched to as much as 35 on two occasions. A driving layup from the top of the key by another freshman, Bernard Sullivan, gave Clemson a 67-32 advantage with just over two minutes remaining.
Clemson will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 at 8:00 PM in Littlejohn Coliseum against Gardner-Webb. For ticket information, call 1-800-CLEMSON or visit ClemsonTigers.com.