by Justin Mathis, @J_Math23
For the second time in three days, Clemson hit the hardwood at Littlejohn Coliseum as they clashed with North Carolina A&T.
Behind a pair of strong performances from Gabe DeVoe and Donte Grantham, the Tigers pulled away, en route to an 87-63 win over the Aggies in the inaugural meeting between the two schools.
“I thought that offensively, (we had) pretty good efficiency, especially from our starters,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “The guys really shared the ball and passed up some good shots for some great ones. Overall, (it was) a lot of good basketball.”
Clemson jumped out to a 4-0 lead two minutes into the contest and quickly extended it to a ten-point advantage by the 15:54 mark. North Carolina A&T trimmed the deficit down to 22-18 near the midway point of the first half, but the Tigers extended it back out to a dozen at the break.
In the second half, the Tigers used a 15-3 run to put the game away. Defensively, Clemson held the Aggies to 23 of 57 shooting from the field (40 percent) and five second-chance points.
“A lot of times in games like these, you want to take the easy way on defense and get the big steals,” DeVoe admitted. “It teaches you defensive discipline.”
“I think that (for) a little bit in the first half, we let down our defensive discipline,” Grantham added. “We had to come back out in the second half, put our foot back on the gas and really find our way defensively, attack, and just play our game.”
Donte Grantham led the way for Clemson with a double-double, tallying 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Gabe DeVoe notched his second double-double of his collegiate career with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Femi Olujobi had a game-high 20 points for North Carolina A&T, while Devonte Boykins had 14 points.
With the win, Clemson improves to 2-0 on the young season and will prepare to play in the 10th annual Gildan Charleston Classic, which will be played on November 16th, 17th, and 19th at the TD Arena in Charleston, SC. The Tigers will begin tournament play against the Ohio Bobcats at 5 PM on November 16th.
Along with Clemson and Ohio, the field will feature Auburn, Dayton, Hofstra, Indiana State, Old Dominion, and Temple.
“I want to go down there and win it,” DeVoe said with a grin. “Playing in a tournament is always a good feeling. It gives you a little bit of extra juice whenever you get to play in those types of environments. I’m just excited to go down there and try to win the entire thing.”