Clemson opened the season with an 80-69 victory over The Citadel at Littlejohn Coliseum, Monday. With 2nd-team All-ACC forward P.J. Hall still nursing a knee injury, veteran guard Chase Hunter stepped up early, scoring 19 of his game-high 23 points in the first half. Hunter Tyson (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Ian Schieffelin (20 points, 14 rebounds) took ownership of the lane, combining to hit on 15 of their 25 shots from the field.
The Tigers closed the first half on a 23-5 run and led by as many as 20 early in second half, but The Citadel fought back and cut the deficit to single digits on multiple occasions. With the Bulldogs down six at the 4-minute mark, Tyson knocked down a jumper to extend the lead back to eight. On the next Clemson possession, Schieffelin snatched an offensive rebound and found Brevin Galloway for a layup and a 10-point lead. Hunter scored his final basket the next time down the floor, pushing the lead back to a dozen, effectively ending the threat.
It was Ed Conroy’s first game back as head coach of The Citadel after coaching the Bulldogs from 2006-10. Senior guard Austin Ash (5-10 3-pointers) led four Bulldogs in double figures with 19 points.
In his postgame comments, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell wouldn’t pinpoint a date for Hall’s return, saying only that he “looked better later in the week.” The Tigers are back in action, Friday, at Colonial Life Arena to renew their rivalry with the Gamecocks. Tipoff between Clemson and South Carolina from Columbia is set for 7 p.m.