Clemson 73, The Citadel 50
Chuck Driesell wanted a packed house for Clemson's visit to McAlister Field House on Wednesday night.
Tigers fans obliged The Citadel's basketball coach, filling the building with orange and helping Clemson ease into its road schedule with an easy 73-50 victory before a crowd of 5,186.
"It's funny," said Clemson junior Milton Jennings, who scored 10 points to go with 14 by Devin Booker and 11 by Tanner Smith. "When we go to Georgia Tech, I see a bunch of orange, (and also) at The Citadel, College of Charleston last year. I guess they were Citadel Tigers tonight."
Driesell can only hope his young Citadel (1-2) team, which played six freshmen against Clemson, can one day approximate the Tigers' tenacious 'D'.
Coach Brad Brownell's Tigers (2-0) used sticky man defense and superior length to block 11 shots, make six steals and force 16 Citadel turnovers on the way to an 18-point halftime lead and 33-point margin in the second half.
The Citadel made just 16 of 63 shots (30.2 percent). Take away junior center Mike Groselle's 7 of 13 for 16 points, and the rest of the squad was 12 of 50.
"They really put us on our heels, and we never really got into an offensive flow at all," said Driesell, whose team had averaged 91.5 points and shot 51.7 percent in its first two games. "It was frustrating and disappointing that we didn't handle their pressure better. I thought we would, so we've got some work to do."
Brownell was pleased with his team's defensive intensity, but will highlight Clemson's boxouts (The Citadel had 16 offensive rebounds), especially against the 6-8 Groselle, in the film room. Groselle became the third Citadel player to post four straight double-doubles with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
"We call him a blue-collar worker," said Jennings, from Summerville's Pinewood Prep. "He wasn't given a lot of athletic ability, but he works so hard and is patient. He waits for the right time to duck you in, and if he gets any angle, he's going to score the ball."
Clemson, which won its 14th straight over the Bulldogs, got some good work from young players, as freshman guard T.J. Sapp scored seven points with six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
"He did some good things, made a shot, got a steal, made some nice passes in transition," Brownell said. "He's certainly further along than the other freshmen, and he's got the opportunity to play with some older players."
Clemson was playing at The Citadel for the first time since 1989.
The Bulldogs hung with the Tigers for the first 12 minutes, trailing 16-12 at 8:18 after a layup by Groselle.
But Clemson blocked three shots and forced 10 Citadel turnovers in the first 20 minutes, fueling a 23-9 run to end the half with a 39-21 lead. Smith hit a 3-pointer and threw a sweet bounce pass to Booker for a dunk during that stretch.
The Citadel missed 10 straight shots in the second half and Clemson went on a 27-7 run to extend the lead to 66-33.
Clemson hosts College of Charleston on Saturday, while The Citadel is home to Florida Christian on Monday.