December 02, 2015

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) Avry Holmes didn't leave his game in San Francisco.

Holmes, who sat out last season after transferring from San Francisco, scored a season-high 20 points with six assists to lead Clemson to a 76-56 victory Wednesday night over USC Upstate.

''You sit out for a year, you're going to be a little rusty,'' Holmes said after leading the Tigers in scoring for the second time in four games. ''I decided just to stay humble, but it feels better to be back on the court - shaking off the rust and stuff, that's all it is.''

Holmes turned in a then season-high 18 points on Nov. 23 against Massachusetts and followed that up with his first 20-point game as a Tiger against Upstate. He averaged 12.7 points as a sophomore at San Francisco

The changes have been as significant as Holmes' year away from the game.

''(It's) the rhythm of the game, really,'' he said. ''I've got a new team. I've got to figure out when to score and when not to score, when guys are open - just the whole feel of the team because it's a lot different from my old school.''

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said Holmes is stepping up into his role as the team's point guard.

''He's continuing to improve,'' Brownell said. ''He's getting better and more comfortable with how we do things. Early on, I think the first couple of games he was a little nervous. There's always a learning curve. ... As he gets more comfortable, I think you'll see him continue to play well.''

Clemson (5-2) never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 19 points in the first half, stretching that lead to as many as 27 points in the second half.

The Tigers, returning home for the first time since Nov. 19, hit 8 of 17 (47 percent) of their 3-point attempts in the first half and 13 of 29 (45 percent) for the game.

Clemson also connected on 28 of 57 (49 percent) of its field-goal attempts on the night, while holding Upstate to 23 of 54 (43 percent) from the field, including 5 of 16 (31 percent) from 3-point range.

''We've shot the ball well, and hopefully that continues,'' said Brownell. ''I've said all year that I think that's one of the keys to this year's team - we have more guys who can make shots.''

Jaron Blossomgame and Ty Hudson added 11 points apiece for Clemson. Hudson's total off the bench was a new career high after scoring eight points in eight minutes against Massachusetts.

Josh Cuthbertson led Upstate with 11 points. Malik Moore and Michael Buchanan both came off the bench to score 10 points apiece.

''Our focus right now - we've got all these guys who are wet behind the ears,'' said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. ''We've just got to get better and make some baby steps.''

Payne, in his 14th season at Upstate, said Clemson's shooting and experience helped make the difference against his team.

''That length and size - those senior guards and a couple of good shooters - it makes it hard with all these young guys in there to play,'' he said. ''But I thought we made some improvement, let's put it that way.''

The Spartans (1-8) were coming off their first win of the season, a 101-54 shellacking of Toccoa Falls College on Monday.

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TIP-INS

CLEMSON: This is the first time in four games that Clemson leading scorer Jaron Blossomgame hasn't scored at least 18 points. He is averaging 19.2 points this season and 21.5 over his last four.

USC UPSTATE: The Spartans have seven true freshmen on their roster this season, including local product Deion Holmes, who has already scored 20 or more points four times.

UP NEXT

Clemson hosts Wofford on Sunday.

USC Upstate is at East Carolina on Thursday.

ROADMAPS

Though located about 65 miles apart, Clemson and USC Upstate (formerly USC Spartanburg) met on the basketball court for the first time Wednesday night. Upstate, which won an NAIA National Basketball Championship in 1982, became a full NCAA Division I member in 2011.

DEBUT

Clemson center Legend Robertin, a 7-footer from London and transfer from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, made his debut for the Tigers, scoring four points with two rebounds and a steal in eight minutes. He left the game with an injured knee.

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