By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
CLEMSON – Given the green light from Coach Brad Brownell, sophomore Damarcus Harrison didn’t need an engraved invitation Sunday afternoon.
“Once he tells you to shoot it,” Harrison said, “you’ve got to shoot it then, you have nothing to worry about.”
A sophomore transfer from BYU, Harrison delivered his best performance in his first season at Clemson, coming off the bench for 15 points, four rebounds and six assists in a 77-41 win over South Carolina State at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Harrison had been averaging 5.0 points in 18 minutes with a high of 10 points at Furman.
“He’s trying to process a lot of things as well, and it’s frustrating when you’re not shooting the ball as well as you can,” said Brownell, who’d been tutoring Harrison on his shooting technique. “He’s been good about it with his attitude.”
It was the size (6-foot-4) and versatility that first caught Brownell’s eye when he tried to sign Harrison out of Greenwood.
Now, it’s only a matter of finding a role with this team.
“I’m good with the teammates,” Harrison said. “It’s just a confidence thing I’ve got to get.
“I was having trouble with it at the beginning, and I think I’m finding it right now, getting in a good rhythm, just knowing when to take my shots and when to pick my spots to score.”
Milton Jennings scored 15, Devin Booker 11 and K.J. McDaniels 10 as Clemson (7-4) beat S.C. State (4-9) for the 11th time in the 12-game series.
Clemson, 28-1 in games with teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, led by as many as 39 points in the second half.
It was an about welcome reversal after a 23-point loss at Coastal Carolina four days earlier. Harrison said they returned to Clemson early the next morning and practiced twice that day.
“It was a good bounce-back game for our guys,” Brownell said. “I thought our guys approached the game the right way. We’ve had some good practices — some demanding practices the last couple of days. I think some of the things we worked on we saw today.”
Clemson’s 22 assists on 30 field goals were a high under Brownell. Point guard Rod Hall had six assists and no turnovers. Booker had seven rebounds.
“It was good to see us play a clean game,” Brownell said. “I thought we did a great job of having a business-like approach after we got control of the game.
Clemson finished the first half on a 21-2 run for a 36-18 lead at the break and led by as many as 39.
Matthew Hezekiah scored 12 points and had seven boards off the bench to lead S.C. State.
S.C. State committed 18 turnovers to Clemson’s 9 and shot 31 percent overall from the field (18-for-58). Clemson shot 49.2 (30-61).
Four of Clemson’s next five games are also at home including New Year’s Day with The Citadel.
“You’ve just got to know when to go in this motion offense, and that’s what took me a while in this motion offense,” Harrison said. “I just wanted to go out and play. It gave me a lot of confidence,”