Clemson used a 15-2 run late in the second half to pull away from a pesky Barton College team for a 89-80 victory Thursday at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. It was the final exhibition game of the preseason for the Tigers.
Clemson tips off the new season Tuesday at 7 p.m., against The Citadel at Littlejohn.
Barton College, a Division II squad, gave the Tigers everything they could handle in the first 33 minutes of the game. The Bulldogs, who led by five points at the half, led by as many as 10 points in the second half and had a five-point lead, 64-59, following a Zach Grant jump shot with 9:12 to play.
“Give Barton College, their players and their staff a lot of credit. I thought they really came in here and played with a great deal of confidence,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “As the game went on, I thought their confidence grew.
“We really did not make them very uncomfortable. I don’t think we played very well for most of the game, especially defensively, again, but our senior guards are really good and I thought those guys made plays down the stretch.”
After a timeout following an Amir Simms dunk with 7:39 to go, the Tigers kicked it into gear and ran away from the Bulldogs. Shelton Mitchell’s layup with 6:37 to play gave Clemson the lead for good at 65-64.
Mitchell then made another layup and David Skara’s third three of the game gave the Tigers a 71-64 lead with 5:09 to go. Clemson extended its lead to has many as 12 points after that.
“Like Coach said, Barton came out and they played well at the beginning and they got a lot of confidence and then after that they were tough to guard,” Mitchell said. “Our communication has to get better. I think at the end of the day, we are going to have to do a better job of leading.
“I can do a better job of being vocal and showing more emotions and help guys get ready to play. At the end of the day, we still won, and that is what matters.”
Marcquise Reed led Clemson with 27 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Skara, 7-of-10 from the field, finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Mitchell added 17. Reed had eight rebounds and three assists to go along with his 27 points.
Amir Simms had 14 points and five rebounds as well.
The Tigers were 25-of-27 from the foul line and shot 47.5 percent overall.
Jake Kakar scored 23 points to lead Barton, while Michael Boykin added 21 points for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started the second half with seven straight points to take a 10-point lead, but the Tigers came right back with 11 unanswered points of their own to grab a 56-55 lead with 13:57 to play.
Skara capped the run with a deep three-pointer, his second of the game at the time. The senior also got a layup in the paint during the run.
Barton came out hot in the first half. The Bulldogs made 7-of-12 three-pointers and shot 58 percent overall from the field to take 48-43 halftime lead.
Though Clemson made just 2-of-11 shots from behind the arc on the opening 20 minutes, it still shot 50-percent from the field overall. The Tigers were also 11-of-12 from the foul line in the opening half.