David Skara led No. 22 Clemson in their second game of the season with 16 points as the Tigers defeated North Carolina Central 71-51 at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson on Friday.
The Tigers were very strong on the defensive end as they held NCCU to just 51 points. This was three points shy of last season’s opponent low of 48 points scored by South Carolina and Pittsburgh.
“I’m real proud of our team with the way we defended tonight.” said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell afterward. “It was a completely different game plan and game prep. This was a very physical team that runs their sets really well with good pace. I was just pleased in the short turn around, the guys approached this game the right way.”
It was a big game for Aamir Simms as the forward put together 14 points on the night. Getting it done on both ends of the court, Simms also had a pair of steals and a block to go along with his scoring total.
“I was able to develop that perimeter game we’ve wanted,” said Simms, who also had three rebounds. “I’ve developed my jump shot to be a little bit better and have a little more confidence going into games. It’s all working our right now and I think we’ll just try to keep things going.”
Shelton Mitchell posted 11 points and four assists in the win while Marcquise Reed led the team with five assists on the day. Transfer Javen White led the team in rebounds with six while shooting 3-for-3 from the field.
The Tigers shot well from the field making 47.9 percent of their shots in the game. The team shot 10-of-26 from the three-point line and hit 15-of-21 free throws as well.
NCCU was led by Raasean Davis with 14 points, but he couldn’t keep his team in the game as was minus-20 in plus-minus for the game.
Clemson went on a 10-0 run early in the first half to give them a 21-10 lead. A David Skara three-pointer started the run and the team did not look back from their as NCCU did not come within 10 points of the Tigers the rest of the game.
Skara hit 3-of-4 three pointers in the game.
“I feel a lot more confident” Skara said. “Senior year, last year I struggled a little offensively, but this year I feel a lot more comfortable. The shots are falling and my teammates are encouraging me since I’ve been back and they’ve helped me a lot in getting my confidence up.”
Skara and Simms led the Tigers in the first half with seven points each, both shooting 3-of-4 from the field respectively.
“I think our team last year was playing so well when he joined it, David is such a good guy that the last thing he wants to do is upset the flow,” said Brownell. “I think he’s trying to just join last years team and see how can I help and not get in the way or disrupt the great rhythm and flow that his team had. The best way he knows how to do that for me is just defend, rebound and be a good guy.
“He found a role that he performed terrifically in, but he also felt that he was a little better of a player. The crazy thing is when he was working out in the spring after the season, we felt as if he was playing better. You could see in a month after the season that this guy was a little more relaxed, a little more confident and playing with pace.”
NCCU was led by Larry McKnight Jr in the first half as the guard scored 8 points. The teams as a whole shot 8-of-30 in the half.
Clemson will host Sam Houston State at 7 pm on Wednesday.