CLEMSON — Clemson guard Jordan Roper admits, the past week or so has been kind of fun.
Roper’s personal 11-point run set the tone for Clemson early in a 64-49 win over Boston College Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
After a 3-pointer from BC’s Patrick Heckmann to start the game, Roper answered with 11 straight points, including three 3-pointers of his own.
Roper finished with a game-high 24 points, including 13 in the first half. Roper’s output was nearly 19 points higher than his season average of 5.3 points coming into Saturday’s contest and his second straight game as the Tigers’ leading scorer.
The silky left handed jumper that had let him down for much of the early season has returned in full effect.
“Definitely, my confidence was down. I wasn’t knocking down shots,” Roper said. “But I just stayed positive and kept my faith in God. It’s turned around. … It’s just good to get out there and play with energy and fire with the guys.”
Jaron Blossomgame added 16 for the Tigers (13-8, 5-4 ACC), who had won three straight. All of Blossomgame’s points came in the second half.
Junior guard Olivier Hanlon and Aaron Brown each had 15 points for the Eagles (9-11, 1-7).
The Tigers led by as many as 17 points in the first half and held a 27-16 advantage at the break despite being held scoreless over the final 5:36 of the first half.
The Eagles struggled from the field from the outset, shooting only 26 percent (6 of 23) from the field in the first half and 39 percent (18 of 46) for the game.
“We got off to a bad start, and they played really, really well,” said first-year BC head coach Jim Christian. “They played hard. They beat us to every loose ball. They hurt us on the backboard. Everything you have to do to be in the game with them, we probably didn’t do a good job of.
“I’m disappointed in our effort, but they had a lot to do with that.”
Clemson centers Landry Nnoko and Siddy Djitte controlled the boards. Clemson out-rebounded BC 37-27, including 13-6 on the offensive glass.
Christian said Clemson’s bigs were more physical and set the tone for the game in the paint and on the boards.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said he was pleased with the play of his team, which is over .500 in the ACC for the first time this season after a 1-3 start in conference play.
“I thought our defense was good, really good,” Brownell said. “This is one of those games where we got a little bit of scoring from everybody. Certainly, Jordan Roper had it rolling tonight with six 3’s. He played fantastic, and I thought we had timely baskets by Landry — it’s good to see him play without fouling.”
Despite Roper’s 8-of-11 performance from the field, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range, the Tigers also struggled from the field, connecting on 22 of 56 (39 percent) of their field-goal attempts for the game.
BC climbed to within 10 points of Clemson early in the second half, but the Tigers finally ended a nearly nine-minute span without a field goal with a three-point play from Nnoko, followed by a 3-pointer from forward Donte Grantham and a thunderous dunk from Blossomgame that opened up a 43-22 Clemson lead.
The victory keeps the Tigers in the middle of the ACC pack with the likes of Duke, N.C. State, Syracuse and Miami, and Brownell said he is happy with his team’s position at the moment.
“It feels good, but it’s a long way to go in this league,” he said. “You take it week by week and see what we’ve got to do, what’s ahead of us and what we do to have to prepare. But I’m pleased with the way our guys have responded.”
Clemson: Roper led the Tigers in scoring for the second straight game. He scored 18 points in Clemson’s upset win at North Carolina State.
BC: Brown, a graduate student who has played at Temple and Southern Mississippi as an undergraduate, is using his final year of NCAA eligibility wisely. He scored 28 points in a loss to Louisville — the most by a BC player this season — and shared a team-high 14 points at Clemson.
Boston College is at Notre Dame Wednesday.
Clemson is at Florida State Wednesday.