Elijah Thomas scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season as Clemson rolled to an easy 64-37 victory over Wake Forest Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
The win was the Tigers’ second straight in the ACC and the first time they have recorded back-to-back wins since December when they won four straight to close out the non-conference part of their schedule.
Thomas dominated the Deacons inside the paint, as he made 10 of 11 field goals. His 10 field goals tied his career-high.
“It was my teammates,” he said afterward. “They got the ball to me in all the right spots. Give Coach (Brad Brownell) and the coaches credit.”
Thomas just did not do it on the offensive end. He also had seven blocked shots and seven of his rebounds came on the defensive end of the court, where he also had a steal.
“Eli was special today,” Brownell said.
Clemson was special, too.
The Tigers (13-8, 3-5 ACC) never trailed in the game and led by as many as 29 points with 1:59 to play in the game.
Marcquise Reed scored nine points and had four assists to help Thomas. The Tigers shot 47.2 percent from the field as a team.
Wake Forest (8-13, 1-8 ACC) shot just 23.7 percent from the field and was 3-of-22 from behind the arc, 13.6 percent. The Tigers blocked 10 shots overall and had eight steals.
“It was really nice to see forty minutes of quality defense,” Brownell said. “I thought our energy level was very high today.”
The 37 points the Tigers allowed Sunday, tied for the fewest given up by a Brownell team against an ACC opponent, and the second lowest overall.
“They were active defensively,” Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning said. “Some of it was on us. When you get your shot blocked ten times you are not doing what you need to be doing correctly.”
Clemson opened the game with a 16-3 run as everyone in the starting lineup got into the action. The Tigers led by as many 17 points in the opening half, 24-7, following a Thomas’ layup and then dunk with 7:39 to play in the first half.
The Tigers led 30-18 at the break.
Thomas was 4-for-5 in the opening half as he scored 11 first half points.
Clemson will be play next at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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