CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson University men’s basketball made its first eight shots of the game and set the tone for the remainder of the contest, breezing past NC Central to move to 2-0 on the year with a 71-51 victory on Friday night.
The Tigers (2-0) allowed just 20 points in the opening half, the second-fewest allowed by a Clemson team in its last 61 games. The lowest was 19 points allowed to Auburn in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
David Skara paced the Tigers with a game-high 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including 3-for-4 from outside. Aamir Simms finished right behind with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting and hit 3-of-4 from long range as well. The three 3-pointers from Simms was a career-high for a single game.
Clemson started 8-for-8 from the field and opened a 20-9 lead nearly seven minutes into the contest. The Tigers pushed its lead to 20 right before the half on a Marcquise Reed 3-pointer.
The Tiger defense remained stout for a full 40 minutes, limiting the Eagles (0-1) to just 32.7 percent shooting from the field, including a dismal 22.2 percent from long range (4-for-18). The Eagles also turned the ball over 20 times in the contest, leading to 25 Clemson points.
Javan White played 12 minutes off the bench and provided an efficient outing for Brad Brownell’s squad. White finished with seven points, six rebounds and two blocks while finishing a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
13 of the Tigers’ 18 bench points came from White and Hunter Tyson. In 14 minutes, Tyson connected on his first two 3-pointers of the season and pulled down three rebounds in the process.
Shelton Mitchell finished as the third Tiger in double-figures with 11 points, while also dishing out four assists and corralling two steals.
Clemson will be off until next Wednesday, Nov. 14 when it hosts Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. in Littlejohn Coliseum.
Notes: Clemson starts 2-0 for the 16th time in 17 seasons … Clemson moves to 2-0 all-time against North Carolina Central … Clemson also moves to 36-1 all-time against programs from the Mid-Atlantic Conference … the 20 points allowed in the first half was the second-fewest allowed by Clemson in the last 61 games … Clemson assisted on 78.3 percent of its field goals … Clemson forced 20 turnovers for the first time in 23 games dating back to the Louisville game on Jan. 6 (21 turnovers forced in OT) … the last time the Tigers forced at least 20 turnovers in a non-OT game was Dec. 9, 2017 against Samford … Brad Brownell wins his 151st game at Clemson and is now just five wins shy of tying Bill Foster for second all-time in Clemson history … David Skara led the Tigers with 16 points – his most as a Tiger … 16 points for Skara is also his most in a game since Nov. 19, 2014 (his third career game at Valparaiso) ... Skara made five 3-pointers all last season and through two games has made four in 2018-19 … Aamir Simms posted three double-digit scoring games all last season and has now scored in double-figures in back-to-back contests to begin this year … Simms also tied his career-mark with two steals … Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed combined for nine assists on the night – one more than the entire NC Central team (8).