Roper, tough defense guide Clemson past VMI
CLEMSON - Jordan Roper tied his career high with 19 points and Clemson's staunch defense shut down one of the country's highest scoring teams in an 80-50 victory over VMI on Monday night.
Roper's output came on an off night for the Tigers' top scorer in K.J. McDaniels. The junior was not given the start by head coach Brad Brownell and was in foul trouble most of the game. McDaniels finished with 7 points, all in the second half for Clemson (9-3).
VMI (6-6) was third nationally in scoring at 89.5 points per game, but was held to its lowest total of the season by the Clemson defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the country.
D.J. Covington led the Keydets with 20 points. Their two top scorers in QJ Peterson and Rodney Glasgow were a combined 4-for-31 shooting and managed 13 points, more than 25 fewer than the duo usually scores.
Clemson used a 13-2 run in the second half to take control. VMI had cut an 11-point lead to 48-44 on Trey Chapman's bucket with 12:30 to go. McDaniels fueled the Tigers' charge with two inside buckets and two foul shots. When Demarcus Harrison made a pair of free throws with 7:38 left, Clemson led 61-46.
The Keydets managed just four points the rest of the way.
Roper's point total tied his mark set last February in a loss to Miami.
Rod Hall had 14 points and Adonis Filer 12 for Clemson.
VMI and Clemson, once Southern Conference rivals, hadn't played in more than 50 years since Dec. 28, 1963. That time, the Tigers won their sixth straight in the series.