Clemson surged in the second half to defeat Gardner-Webb 65-44 Friday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
“It was a good opening night for our guys, in a lot of different ways. I thought the Gardner-Webb kids really competed. They played really hard. They didn’t back down at all, physically, and obviously had a good run. We let our guard down when we were up 26-13. They got some confidence, made a couple of plays, we had some bad turnovers that led to a couple of
baskets and we go into halftime and they had all the momentum. So we need to face a little adversity, and we got some. I thought our older players responded. Defensively, we were tremendous in the second half. Our guys really bared down and held them to 15 points. It took them a long time to score, and especially to make a field goal. I thought we did some better things. We played a lot of the older guys a lot of the minutes, so we executed a lot of things really well offensively; we just
had some careless turnovers. The bugaboo for tonight is that we can’t have 18 turnovers in a game like this,” said Brownell.
Andre Young led the Tigers in scoring with 19 points. True freshman T.J. Sapp added 11 points, while Milton Jennings scored ten. Tanner Smith did it all for the Tigers, pulling down 14 rebounds, disching out eight assists, scoring six and picking up five steals.
The Tigers shot 54 percent on the night, including 46 percent from three. Clemson’s swarming defense held Gardner-Webb to 31 percent from the field.
Freshman T.J. Sapp got the start in his first game as a Tiger. Other starters included Tanner Smith, Andre Young, Milton Jennings and Devin Booker.
A Tanner Smith layup with 16:35 to go in the half put the Tigers up 6-0. Gardner-Webb went on a run and cut the lead to 6-5 on a three with 14:53 to go.
With 10:18 Andre Young hit a three to put the Tigers up 17-9. Sullivan hit a jumper with 7:40 to go to put Clemson up 23-11. Another Young three-pointer with 6:30 made the score 26-13. Gardner-Webb went on 10-0 run to cut the lead to three at 26-23.
T.J. Sapp hit a three with 3:10 to go to put the Tigers up 29-23. Gardner-Webb responded with a three to cut the lead back to three. Another three with 58 seconds in the half tied the score at 29.
At the half the score was tied 29-29. Andre Young led the Tigers with ten points at the half. T.J. Sapp added eight points in the first half. The Tigers shot 52.4 percent from the field in the half, including 57 percent from three. Clemson struggled at the line shooting only 50 percent in the first half. Tanner Smith grabbed eight rebounds for the Tigers in the first half.
The Tigers came roaring out of the locker room. Clemson opened the second half with an 8-0 run. With 10:23 the lead stretched to 47-33 when Andre Young hit a jumper.
With 6:56 to go Tanner Smith hit a layup to put Clemson up 54-35. Booker’s free throws put Clemson up 56-35 with 5:58 to go. With 5:00 to go Gardner-Webb hit a three to cut the lead to 56-40. Milton Jennings hit a three with 3:25 to go to give the Tiger their biggest lead of the night at 63-40.
Clemson finished off Gardner-Webb 65-44.