18-0 run to start the second half allows Tigers to blow out CSU
Clemson opened the second half on a 18-0 run as it steamrolled Charleston Southern Tuesday, 78-51, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Aamir Simms was responsible for 11 of those 18 points, including three 3-pointers.
The 18-0 run gave the Tigers (8-3) a 53-27 lead at the time. Clemson made its first eight shots to start the second stanza. Simms finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
“Our defense and the way we played in the second half was much better,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said.
As great as Simms played in the second half, Elijah Thomas owned the first half for the Tigers. The big-man scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the first 20 minutes. He also had seven of his game-high 14 rebounds in the opening half.
Thomas’ 25 points and 14 rebounds marked his fourth double-double of the season.
“I thought Eli was great in the first half and really came ready to play,” Brownell said. “He had good opportunities to finish in there and he managed the situation.
“His defense around the rim was excellent on some pick-and-roll stuff.”
With the win, Brownell moves to second all-time at Clemson in career victories with 157. He passes the late Bill Foster, who had 156 wins from 1975-’84 at Clemson.
“I owe a lot of the credit to the coaches I have had here over the years. It is really special and it is special to be mentioned in the same sentence as a guy like Bill Foster,” Brownell said. “He was a great coach here, but from what I hear about him, and have heard, he was even a better person. He was a great man.”
Christian Keeling led the Buccaneers with 25 points, including 19 in the fist half. He scored 19 of his team’s 27 first-half points.
Clemson, who led 35-27 at the break, did not make a shot behind the arc in the first half, and in fact 33 of their 35 first half points came in the paint or on the free throw line. Shelton Mitchell, who scored 14 points and had 6 assists, made the first jump shot late in the half for the Tigers.
Clemson was 6-of-12 from behind the arc in the second half.
Mitchell opened the second half with a three-pointer, which Simms followed with one of his own. After David Skara drained a deep jumper, Simms made his second three for a 46-27 lead.
Simms nailed another three and then followed it with a dunk before Thomas got into the action with a dunk of his own for a 53-27 lead.
The Tigers play at South Carolina on Saturday. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2. Clemson is looking for its third straight win over the Gamecocks.