Clemson routs Rattlers in season opener

by - Staff Writer -
Jordan Roper's two-handed dunk as time expired in the first half.
Jordan Roper's two-handed dunk as time expired in the first half.

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers started the final season in Littlejohn Coliseum off with a bang.

Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
Head Coach
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’s squad played its signature defense and lit up the scoreboard in Clemson’s 86-41 win over the Florida A&M Rattlers Friday evening in Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers had five scorers – Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
RS So. Forward
#5 6-7, 215
Alpharetta, GA

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(10), Donte GranthamDonte Grantham
Fr. Forward
#15 6-8, 205
Martinsburg, WV

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(12), Landry NnokoLandry Nnoko
Jr. Center
#35 6-10, 255
Montverde, FL

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(15), Damarcus HarrisonDamarcus Harrison
Sr. Guard
#21 6-4, 205
Greenwood, SC

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(10) and Jordan RoperJordan Roper
Jr. Guard
#20 6-0, 165
Columbia, SC

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(13) – in double figures as Clemson shot 48.5-percent from the field.

Defensively, Clemson held Florida A&M to just 16-of-48 shooting and 0-for-7 from three. The Rattlers leading scorer was Quentin Bastian with 11 points.

Brownell told the media after the game that he was pleased with the way his team played to open up the season.

“Good opening performance from our guys. We clearly out-manned Florida A&M but having said that I thought our guys were pretty sharp,” Brownell said after the Tigers season-opening win. “I was pleased with our efficiency. We had 21 assists and only five turnovers. I think that showed good, crisp ball movement and good decision-making which I was pleased with. We took a few too many threes. That’s kind of our bugaboo right now when teams pack it in. We just need to be a little more relaxed and a little more efficient. I think some of our younger guys especially kind of fall in love with that.

“I’m also pleased with our defensive discipline. It’s the second game in a row where we’ve gotten a big lead and really have guarded pretty well in the second half – not allowing the other team to get back in the game when you’re up 20 and not losing your discipline. That’s really important. I was pleased with our guys - good balance and a lot of guys got to play.”

Clemson’s offense got off to a little bit of a slow start missing it’s first three shot attempts – all from three-point range – but senior Rod HallRod Hall
Sr. Guard
#12 6-1, 205
Augusta, GA

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scored the first points of the season with a short jumper.

Clemson opened the game on a 7-2 run over the course of the first four minutes but three Clemson fouls and a couple of easy scoring opportunities for the Rattlers made it a 9-8 game at the 14:23 mark but the Tigers would go on a 32-10 run that was capped off by a Jordan Roper dunk for a 41-18 first half lead.

Junior guard Jordan Roper led the Tigers – who shot 43.6-percent from the field – with nine points. Clemson also forced 13 Rattler turnovers in the first half.

Donte Grantham began the second half, much like the end of the of first, with a thunderous dunk and a called foul on Florida A&M’s Jorge Rosa to give Clemson a 44-18 lead.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw both teams trade baskets, with the Tigers never able to extend their lead to more than 29.

Back-to-back free throws by Landry Nnoko seemed to break the trend, however, sending Clemson on a 27-10 run. Nnoko scored eight of Clemson’s points during that six-minute span.

Nnoko only scored three points in the second half but finished with 15 in the game and said that the Rattlers’ defense really dictated what he was able to do offensively.

“They just shared the ball. The other team went man and that kind of opened up things for me,” Nnoko said. “I’m getting better as the season gets going and I’ve been working on my offensive game the entire summer to keep improving and help my team.”

The Tigers return to action Monday night when they host Winthrop at 7 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum.

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