Clemson takes 76-56 victory over Texas Southern
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) Clemson reserve center Sidy Djitte seemed as if he'd gotten a little tired of waiting for a performance like the one that helped propel Clemson to a 76-56 victory over Texas Southern Thursday night.
''It's about time,'' Djitte said of his first career double-double, which featured career highs in points (13) and rebounds (11). ''I got better; I worked hard all summer.''
Jaron Blossomgame led Clemson with a team-high 22 points and was one of five Clemson players, including Djitte, in double figures.
Clemson (3-0) built an 8-point lead with just under 16 minutes to play and never trailed thereafter.
Texas Southern led 33-31 at halftime behind 7-of-17 shooting from 3-point range, but was outscored 21-4 over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
''I was really proud or the way our guys came out in the second half,'' said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, whose team held Texas Southern to 23 second-half points.
Brownell praised Djitte, calling him Clemson's most improved player over the offseason. Djitte came off the bench 35 seconds into the game, splitting time almost evenly with starter Landry Nnoko.
''What Sidy did was a big spark for us in the second half,'' Brownell said.
Blossomgame, who led his team in scoring last season as a sophomore, was Clemson's top scorer for the second time in three games this season. He scored 18 in a season-opening victory over North Carolina Central. His 22 points against Texas Southern came on 9-of-16 shooting, and he added nine rebounds and two assists.
Malcom Riley led Texas Southern (0-3) with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including 3 of 7 3-point attempts. He added five rebounds, second on the team behind David Blanks' six. Chris Thomas was the only other Texas Southern player in double figures with 11.
After Texas Southern's initial scoring burst in the first half, the visiting Tigers connected on 8 of 30 (27 percent) field-goal attempts in the second, including 2 of 12 (17 percent) from beyond the arc.
Clemson used its size to its advantage, outscoring Texas Southern 42-20 in the paint and outrebounding the visiting Tigers 41-30, but it was a move to a 2-3 zone defense that slowed Texas Southern down.
Texas Southern led by as many as 8 points in the early going, but Clemson battled back, finally taking its first lead of the game at 18-17 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
''We came out in the first half and played really fast, but then we played really slow,'' said Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis. ''Our advantage is that we're small and fast, but when we slow down, our advantage becomes our disadvantage. ... They wanted to slow us down and get us out of rhythm (with the zone).''
Clemson struggled against the overall speed of Texas Southern's smaller lineup in the opening minutes, but the switch to the 2-3 zone successfully slowed Texas Southern's attack.
''Our zone helped us out in the second half as well as in part of the first,'' Brownell said.
Jordan Roper added 14 points for Clemson, while Donte Grantham and Nnoko added 11 points apiece. Djitte and Nnoko, who starts at center, combined for 22 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Texas Southern: Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis, who succeeded Bob Knight at Indiana and also previously coached at Alabama-Birmingham, remains five victories shy of his 300th career win.
Clemson: Clemson has made 27 3-point attempts through its first three games, hitting 27 of 64 (42 percent) tries from 3-point range.
Texas Southern is the first team to eclipse the 50-point plateau against Clemson in three games this season. Opponents are averaging 47 points against Clemson thus far.
Texas Southern at Howard on Monday.
Clemson at Massachusetts on Monday.