Clemson’s 0-2 start in ACC play is nothing more than a painful memory now. The Tigers got back to the .500 mark Tuesday night with a 60-44 win over Wake Forest in front of 7291 fans at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers followed up their solid win over Virginia Saturday (59-44) with another complete performance. They attacked the Demon Deacons inside with layups and dunks and complimented that with five three pointers.
And they turned in another outstanding defensive effort. It’s the first time in Clemson history the Tigers have held consecutive ACC opponents under 45 points each.
The Tigers put this one away with a 20-10 run over the final 11 minutes of the first half that broke an 11-11 tie and gave them a 31-21 halftime lead. The Tigers were able to attack the basket during that stretch with Adonis Filer, Rod Hall and Devin Booker hitting multiple layups and KJ McDaniels a pair of dunks. They also got threes from Jordan Roper and Milton Jennings.
The defense was also a major factor in building the first half lead as the Tigers limited the Demon Deacons to just seven first half field goals and 25% shooting from the floor.
Clemson opened the second half with a 7-0 run to build the lead to 17 and never let the Demon Deacons make a run. The closest the Deacons got in the second half was 12 points. Wake finished the night with just 15 field goals and shot 2.46% for the night.
Clemson was led by McDaniels who toyed with a triple-double finishing with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 7 blocks. Filer added 13 points off the bench and Booker had 12 points and 8 rebounds.
The Tigers got a big lift from Filer and fellow freshman guard Roper off the bench. They combined for 7-11 shooting, including 4-6 threes, and accounted for all of Clemson’s 22 bench points.
Clemson held Wake’s dynamic scoring duo of Travis McKie and CJ Harris to 11 points under their combined average. McKie finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Harris managed just eight points and was shutout in the second half.
“I really thought we had a solid defensive performance by our entire team,” said Tiger coach Brad Brownell. “It was a key to our win. Certainly when you have K.J. (McDaniels), (Devin) Booker, and Landry (Nnoko) getting blocked shots at the rim, it helps. I thought we did a good job on C.J. Harris, who is a tremendously talented offensive scorer. I thought our guys really locked in on some scouting situations with him. I thought we played fairly well on offense, and were very opportunistic. It was good to have Jordan (Roper) back making some threes. It was also good to get Booker some touches.”
Clemson is now 10-6 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The Tigers will play Sunday night at NC State. Wake Forest drops to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the league.