Clemson 60, Winthrop 40
Brad Brownell has continually challenged his two primary senior
leaders for more amid Clemson’s non-conference sputters.
It’s a small sample size, but guards Tanner Smith and Andre
Young shouldered more of the scoring burden Saturday, combining for
more than half the team’s points as the Tigers stymied Winthrop
Smith matched his career high with 17 points, while Young added
15 as Clemson (5-4) rebounded from consecutive losses to South
Carolina and Arizona following a week layoff for exams.
”We’re the leaders of this team, and we have to continue to
lead the younger guys while also propelling ourselves to good
games,” said Smith, who has twice scored 17 points in games
against Long Beach State as a junior and sophomore. ”We did a good
job doing that tonight, but it’s only one game. We have to continue
doing that every night.”
Clemson also wouldn’t mind replicating a defensive performance
that yielded 23.8 percent shooting in the second half from Winthrop
(4-7), which had lost both lost by more than 20 in each of its
previous two games against high-majors Virginia and Marquette.
Andre Jones had 12 points for the Eagles, seven below his season
average. Reggie Middleton added 11.
The 40 points are the fewest Clemson has allowed since a 61-40
home triumph over Delaware State exactly one year earlier.
”We had a defensive goal of holding Clemson to 59 points
because they grind the game out,” Winthrop coach Randy Peele said.
”But defensively, I don’t know if fans understand how good they
”Our shot selection was very poor against that defense. They
shot 55 percent in the second half, 50 for the game, and that’s not
good enough to beat a BCS school.”
A Jones 3-pointer trimmed Clemson’s lead to 22-18 with seven
minutes left in the first half. But that was the last point the
outcome would be considered in doubt.
The Eagles would manage just four points in a span of their next
Clemson expanded on a seven-point halftime advantage with a 12-0
run fueled by transition 3-pointers from Smith and Young.
By the time Jones stopped the bleeding on a lay-in with 15:10
left, the Tigers led 41-26.
Saturday’s game marked Clemson’s sixth game against in-state
competition in the opening nine contests. The Tigers finished the
stretch 3-3 against in-state opponents.
Coming off the consecutive losses, Clemson shuffled its lineup,
inserting 7-foot-2 center Catalin Baciu for struggling forward
Milton Jennings, who had also missed practice time because of
illness. Baciu mustered five points in a season-high 17
The Tigers return to action with a 7 p.m. home game Monday
against Alabama State, while Winthrop travels to Western Michigan
for a 7 p.m. game Tuesday.
”This was a good win for us,” Brownell said. ”Winthrop can be
a dangerous team; their guards can really score. We did an
unbelievable job defensively. In a low-possession game, to win by
20, that’s pretty good play.”