Clemson holds off Robert Morris 64-57
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson closed out its non-conference schedule Tuesday night with a 64-57 win over Robert Morris at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers scored 20 unanswered points in the final minutes of the first half and opening of the second and held on for the victory.
Jaron Blossomgame led three Tigers in double figures with 16 points and 12 rebounds as Clemson won for the fourth time in five outings.
Now, both Robert Morris and Clemson are set to begin their respective Northeast and Atlantic Coast conference schedules with home games on Saturday.
For Clemson, that means North Carolina is coming to town.
''I think we've improved through the course of November and December,'' Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. ''We're certainly going to get a great test over the first four or five games in the league.''
Robert Morris also offered a test for the Tigers.
Clemson (8-4) used its 20-run to build an 18-point lead. The Colonials got as close as six points in the final minute, but were unable overcome Clemson's decisive run.
Robert Morris (4-8) went cold from the field as Clemson pulled away in the second half. The Colonials connected on just 24 of 74 field-goal attempts (32 percent), including 6 of 23 3-point tries (26 percent).
''We had a tough shooting night against a good defensive team,'' said Robert Morris head coach Andy Toole. ''Early on, we got some good looks but in the second half, they were able to take away a lot of our 3-point shots.''
Marcquise Reed led the Colonials with a game-high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting.
After a dozen first-half lead changes, the Tigers managed a 30-26 lead at the break thanks to Jordan Roper's three-point play off an offensive rebound with 1:20 left in the half and Sidy Djitte's lay-in less than a minute before the break.
Robert Morris packed into its 2-3 zone from the outset, and the Tigers were ineffective from the perimeter, missing their first seven shots from 3-point range and connecting on 1 of 10 in the first half.
The Tigers bounced back in the second half, finding an offensive rhythm with Blossomgame and Donte Grantham, who added 13 points. Damarcus Harrison hit three 3s and scored 11 points.
Clemson also survived despite 17 turnovers, produced in part by impatience against the Colonials' zone defense.
''It's always challenging when you play against (a zone) for 40 minutes because you just don't see it,'' Brownell said. ''But I think some of it is just carelessness. There were probably five or six (turnovers) that were just careless plays. We've just got to be better.''
Clemson: Senior point guard Rod Hall eclipsed the 3,000-minutes played mark for his career late in the first half against Robert Morris. Hall became the 19th player in program history to reach the plateau.
Robert Morris: Senior forward Lucky Jones was back in the starting lineup against Clemson after scoring 15 off the bench in a win over Delaware. Jones is the Colonials' active leader in points (1,328) and rebounds (715). Jones scored 13 points and added a rebound against Clemson.
SHOT OF THE GAME
After a scoreless first half, Clemson senior guard Damarcus Harrison hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to spur the Tigers to an insurmountable 18-point lead.
Clemson made the most of its three-point play opportunities. The Tigers were fouled on made baskets five times and hit the free-throw on four of the three-point play chances
Clemson hosts North Carolina Saturday.
Robert Morris hosts Mount St. Mary's Saturday.