Clemson edges Nevada 59-50
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) A game the next day was the perfect thing for the Clemson men’s basketball team after its second straight loss to a Big South team, Jaron Blossomgame said.
Blossomgame, a sophomore forward, scored 13 points to lead Clemson to a 59-50 victory against Nevada in a consolation semifinals game at the Paradise Jam on Saturday at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Landry Nnoko added 10 for the Tigers (2-2), who recovered after a tough loss in Friday’s Paradise Jam opener after the team called a timeout it did not have in the final seconds of a tied game against Gardner-Webb.
”It was really good for us to play and get that bad taste out of our mouths,” Blossomgame said. ”Playing immediately was a good thing for us. Guys were ready to play and prove ourselves, and show that we’re a really good team.”
Clemson had also lost Monday to Winthrop.
The Tigers will now play for fifth place in the tournament Monday against the winner of Saturday’s Louisiana State-Weber State game.
D.J. Fenner and Tyron Criswell scored 11 points apiece for Nevada (2-2), which will play the loser in Monday’s seventh-place game.
The Tigers took command with a 16-0 run in the first half, fueled by two 3-pointers by Rod Hall and capped by a spin move to score by Nnoko to put Clemson up 26-11 with 7:18 until halftime.
”We made a couple 3s, and we’re not a very good 3-point shooting team,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. ”That really helps our team. We need to be able to stretch it with some 3-point shooting, and we had some guys do that in that run.”
The Tigers, who shot 5 of 15 from beyond the arc, led 39-24 at halftime.
Clemson’s Donte Grantham, who missed much of the first half after getting hit in the face, ignited a second-half run after the Wolf Pack had closed the deficit to 11 points.
His pull-up jumper and baseline runner ignited a 9-0 run to make the lead 50-30 with 13:17 to play.
Nevada got the lead down to 55-47 with 5:12 to play, but the Wolf Pack would not score again until there was 17.6 seconds to play and the game was decided.
”Looking at our stat chart, we just missed our shots inside,” Nevada coach David Carter said. ”We were 7 of 16 inside the paint. Against a good team like that, you can’t do that.”
In all, Nevada had eight straight possessions with no points down the stretch.
”I think that’s the mark of a young team,” Carter said. ”I think we’re trying to hit home runs. We’re trying to make that play, and they just have to learn it’s one possession at a time.”
Clemson: On Monday, Clemson will look to finish 2-1 in the Paradise Jam for the third time in its three appearances. The Tigers also competed on St. Thomas in the 2001 and 2010. . Sophomore center Sidy Djitte suffered a left knee injury when a teammate landed on him under his own basket early in the second half. He missed the rest of the game.
Nevada: The Wolf Pack attempted just six free throws, making four for a 67-percent output. Clemson was 16 of 26 (62 percent) from the line. . 50 points was Nevada’s lowest scoring output of the season.
After two games in two days, both teams will be off Sunday before one more game on Monday.
Nevada has a boat trip scheduled for the team on the Virgin Islands waters.
Clemson will play in Monday’s fifth-place Paradise Jam game against the winner of Saturday’s Louisiana State-Weber State game.
Nevada will play in Monday’s seventh-place Paradise Jam game against the loser of Saturday’s LSU-Weber State game.