Some wondered if Clemson would have much energy for its late game with Pitt on Tuesday after losing a heartbreaker on the road to NC State last Saturday.
With less than a capacity crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum and a 9 p.m. start it would have seemed logical for the Tigers to be a little lethargic and hungover from the loss. However, they came out with their own energy and used runs of 8-0 and 14-0 early in the game to blowout the Panthers, 82-69.
“We played like a team that really wanted to play well, and was focused,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “We did a lot of really good things in the first half. I thought our defense was good. We got our hands on balls. Obviously, we shared the ball and we made threes.
“When you shoot the ball like we did tonight. It really looks good. It was just a really great win.”
Shelton Mitchell paced Clemson to its second conference win of the season, scoring 14 points and adding five assists. Marcquise Reed finished with 26 points in the victory to lead the Tigers in scoring.
The Tigers (12-8, 2-5 ACC) matched a season-high for points in a half with 51 in the first 20 minutes, matching what they did in the second half of the Citadel game in the season opener.
Clemson led 51-23 at the break.
Mitchell led the team with 14 points in the opening half. The senior guard was 4-for-4 from behind the arc and 5-for-5 overall. He came into the game one for his last 14 from three-point range in the first six ACC games and 2-for-his last 22 since the South Carolina game on Dec. 22.
“I was happy for him,” Brownell said. “He has struggled a little bit so far. He played great against Georgia Tech at home. He did not score much but he distributed the ball well. Tonight, he had a tremendous mix. I thought his distributing was really good.
“We knew he would have a couple of shots in the zone. We encouraged him to stay aggressive with those. He was really good tonight.”
Mitchell finished the game 5-of-6 from the field overall and 4-for-4 from three.
Clemson also got 14 points from Reed in the first half as well. Clyde Trapp totaled 16 points in the win.
Pitt (12-9, 2-6 ACC) was led by Xavier Johnson’s 28 points to lead all scorers.
The Tigers shot 66.7 percent overall and 60-percent from three in the opening half. They led by as many as 29 points.
Clemson used a 14-0 run early in the game to build its lead and then added on it from there.
The Tigers will play Wake Forest at noon on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
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