The upset bug spreading throughout the NCAA Tournament, including Clemson’s San Diego pod, did not strike the Tigers late Friday night. The 5th seeded Tigers built a 12 point halftime lead and went on to defeat New Mexico State 79-68 and will face Auburn Sunday at 7:10 PM Eastern. The Tigers kept the 5-line in the tournament bracket clean through the first round.
As expected, the Clemson backcourt of Gabe DeVoe, Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell carried the offense combining for 60 points. They made 25-42 shots from the floor, including 5 three pointers, to lead a 56% shooting night for the Tigers. Mitchell led the way with 23 points. DeVoe added 22 and Reed 15.
Mitchell added 5 assists and did not commit a turnover. Clemson won all the key categories…42-28 in the paint, 18-8 off turnovers and 19-2 in fastbreak points.
The game was tight for about the first ten minutes Clemson took a 17-15 lead to start a 15-5 run and led the rest of the way. The Aggies would get no closer than 6 points the rest of the way.
The win is the second in the NCAA Tournament for Brad Brownell at Clemson and sends the Tigers to the round of 32 for the first time since 1997. That was also the last year Clemson reached the Sweet 16.
Clemson post game press conference w/ Brad Brownell, Gabe DeVoe & Shelton Mitchell