Coastal Carolina’s brand new HTC Center got its baptism Wednesday night, but it was Clemson that got dunked. Actually, it wasn’t dunking that won the game for the Chanticleers but rather excellent three point shooting, rebounding and interior defense as Coastal blew out the Tigers 69-46 for their second win in as many seasons over Clemson.
The Chanticleers made 9 of 23 three pointers compared to Clemson’s 4-21, outrebounded the Tigers 39-32, and outscored the Tigers in the paint 28-24. Clemson’s Devin Booker did score 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, but he and Milton Jennings and KJ McDaniels were not able to dominate the Chanticleers as might have been expected.
Coastal jumped to a 10-2 lead but Clemson regathered and posted its first lead at 17-14 with 8:59 left in the half on a three by McDaniels. That would be the Tigers’ final points of the half until a Booker tip in at the buzzer. The Chants finished the half on a 13-2 run for a 27-19 halftime lead.
A three pointer by Jennings got the Tigers to within four with 15:33 to play, but that was as close as they would get. It was still a ballgame when Jordan Roper made a pair of free throws to get Clemson to within 44-38 with 10:17 to play. Coastal then went on an 8-0 run and Clemson couldn’t respond. The lead peaked at 27 points as the Tigers were handed their most lopsided defeat in the 75 games under Brad Brownell. It’s also the fewest points the Tigers have scored under Brownell.
“I thought they (Coastal) played very well, very inspired,” Brownell said. “Except for Devin Booker for us, I don’t know, I didn’t see this coming. Our team played very poorly, not as inspired. Very disappointed, especially to the Clemson fans from this area who came to see us. We usually play harder than this.”
AUDIO: Brownell post game news conference [4:29]
Coastal coach Cliff Ellis is still the winningest coach in Clemson history with 177 victories over his ten seasons there. He enjoyed some great moment’s at Littlejohn Coliseum and said this victory will always serve as a landmark moment for the Chant’s new home. ‘
“I thought the fact that we won the boards, we didn’t allow them to block shots, we made the extra pass and we knocked down some threes, that was the huge difference in the game,” Ellis said. “Our guys did a great job. They were physical, they were aggressive. It was a physical, aggressive game.”
AUDIO: Ellis post game news conference [11:41]
Anthony Raffa led all scorers with 25 points hitting 10 of 17 from the floor including a pair of threes.
AUDIO: Raffa talks about the win over Clemson [5:23]
Coastal improves to 4-5 and will play at the College of Charleston Saturday at Noon. Clemson drops to 6-4 and will host SC State Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM.