The COVID-19 pause couldn’t slow down Clemson this time as it held Wake Forest to 25.5-percent shooting and forced 10 turnovers Wednesday at Joel Veteran Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.
After a five day pause of team activities and 11 days since its last game, Clemson looked impressive in its return to action. The Tigers won their fourth straight game and first road contest since Jan. 2 by a comfortable 60-39 margin.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell took a different approach with increased conditioning after this break and was pleased with his teams defensive effort.
“Great team win, super pleased with the way we guarded tonight. The last time we were in the pause I didn’t feel like we had enough time to get the competitive edge back and we didn’t do a good job defensively for a while when we got back,” Brownell said after the game. “We really upped the conditioning to try and get them ready and my biggest concern was if we worked them too hard in those four days before the game.”
Aamir Simms finished the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds and felt the extra conditioning paid off.
“Coach really made sure we were in position to be back in top shape and game shape so when we came out today we weren’t lethargic and gassed which played a huge role,” Simms said.
Clemson (14-5, 8-5 ACC) jumped out to a solid start to the game and controlled the flow from the outset.
The Tigers entered halftime with a commanding 29-15 lead, the Demon Deacons’ lowest first half total of the season. It was the sixth time Clemson has held an opponent under 20 points in the opening half.
Hunter Tyson’s contribution was key for the team’s success particularly in the first half, he finished the game with 9 and ten rebounds with seven points in the opening period.
Three Tigers finished the game in double figures but Alex Hemenway had the hot hand on the court Wednesday. Hemenway finished the game with a career high 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Hemenway felt relieved to see the ball go through the net on Wednesday after some struggles earlier in the year.
“Tonight, it was a good night to see the ball go through the basket because I feel like I’ve been taking good shots and they haven’t been going in,” Hemenway said. “Tonight, it was just really good to see the ball go through the rim.”
Also with double digits were Aamir Simms who finished with 13 points and Nick Honor with 11 points.
Another key to the Tigers’ success was their ability to control the glass as they out rebounded Wake Forest 40-22. Clemson also held a sizable margin in points off of turnovers 12-6 despite turning the ball over 13 times.
Wake Forest’s 39 points were the second lowest point total of the season allowed by Clemson, it held South Carolina State to 38 points in December.
Clemson returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Miami at 2 p.m., at Littlejohn Coliseum.