By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- In front of a small crowd tonight, Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers took on the Alabama State Hornets hoping to improve their record to 6-4 on the season.
Brownell came out tonight with a new lineup, replacing forward Milton Jennings in the rotation with senior Bryan Narcisse who showed from the start of the game that he could provide some energy from the beginning.
The Tigers’ came out of the gate scoring early with several players contributing and keeping the Hornets to making a low percentage of their attempted shots. Clemson’s speed and height gave them the advantage.
Rod Hall showed in the early minutes of the game why he is a starter as he forced several Hornet turnovers, and Devin Booker made his presence known in the paint with several defensive rebounds.
Another story of the night was the play of the freshmen. Sapp, Hall, and McDaniels all made a shot from behind the arc for the Tigers and Sullivan showed again that he’s continuing to improve in the paint. Although they’re young, all four freshmen that have played show promise for the years to come.
At the end of the first half the Tigers went into the locker room with a solid 36-21 lead over the Hornets, keeping Alabama State to shooting only 29% from the field with the Tigers’ shooting 52%. Milton Jennings came off the bench for the Tigers’ and added some energy, scoring 8 points in the first half along with two assists and two rebounds.
The Tigers continued to roll in the second half, using their tough defense to keep the Hornets from going inside. The big men continued to shine for the Tigers with both Jennings and Booker in double figures scoring and contributing defensively as well.
The Tigers’ ended the game with a 70-45 victory against the Hornets. The Tigers shot 50% for the game and held the Hornets to only 33%.
“I’m just happy with the way our guys approached the past two games,” Brownell said. “I thought we played really well against Winthrop and came in on Sunday very focused. We had good energy and except for the turnovers tonight we played very well.”
Both Jennings and Booker had solid nights for the Tigers against Alabama State, which is something Brownell thinks should happen every game in order for the team to be successful.
“I think this is maybe the 2nd game all year that they’ve both been in double figures,” Brownell said. “That’s a part of the reason why we’re not doing as well as we’d like to do. Those guys are capable shooters and we need them to get us 12 or 13 points per game. It really helped tonight because Andre never found his rhythm but we had a lot of other guys step up and make plays.”
Milton Jennings who found his rhythm tonight against the Hornets going 4-4 shooting with 12 points believes that his success came from letting the game come to him.
“I just literally shot the ball when I was open and let the game come to me,” Jennings said. “I didn’t force a shot when I didn’t have it and just did things a little differently tonight. I kept my mind right and took calm game-like shots during warm-ups tonight and it transferred over to the game.”