Clemson came out on top in its second game of the season by putting away North Carolina A&T, 87-63, in Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday.
Following the game, the media spoke to head coach Brad Brownell, guard Gabe DeVoe, and forward Donte Grantham.
Here is what we heard:
Brownell was overall pleased with his team’s ability to take control of the game offensively, but he said the Tigers still have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball.
“Solid win,” Brownell said. “I thought offensively we had good efficiency, especially from our starter. Guys really shared the ball and I thought we passed up some good shots for some great ones. I was a little disappointed defensively. I didn’t think we played as well as we did against Western (Carolina). Our three-point defense wasn’t where we would’ve liked it and we’ll make some improvements on that.”
In Sunday’s game, five players including Donte Grantham, Elijah Thomas, Marcquise Reed, Shelton Mitchell, and Gabe DeVoe all scored in double figures. Seniors DeVoe and Grantham especially stood out as each recorded double-doubles.
Brownell said that it’s good to see Grantham playing at ease again.
“He certainly wants to be a really good player and he’s doing everything we’re asking him to do,” Brownell said. “It’s good to see him play comfortably again. He’s got to do some different things than he’s done in the past, playing a little more four and guarding a different type of player. He’s such a good ball handler and passer that he impacts the game beyond the baskets he makes.”
Grantham also makes a true impact as the Tigers’ leader. When the Clemson defense fell in the first half, Grantham noticed and helped the team make adjustments.
“I think in the first half, we let down our defensive discipline,” he said. “So, we had to come in the second half and put our foot back on the gas and really find our way defensively, attack, and play our game. I think that’s what we did.”
Apart from Clemson’s starting five, the program has acquired many new faces in the off-season, a few of which have really stood out to the veteran players.
“When we play against some bigger guys, I think Amir (Simms) can really help us out on the boards,” DeVoe said. “And AJ (Oliver), if he would settle down and relax, he’ll be able to shot the ball fine. He’s just excited to be out there right now.”
The Tigers will travel to Charleston, SC on Tuesday to prepare for the Gildan Charleston Classic. Clemson will face Ohio University in the first round of the tournament on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the TD Arena.
To go to Charleston and win out, the team felt like the first two games of the season were essential in building team chemistry and togetherness.
“I think we needed these games because we have a tournament coming up and we have a lot of new guys,” Grantham said. “Getting them experience with how we play and getting our chemistry together before we go Charleston to play.”