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Clemson Basketball wins season opener, dominates Winthrop

Strong start for the Tigers to the 2023-24 campaign

After a really strong run in ACC conference play last season the Clemson Tigers fell just short of making the NCAA Tournament. Now, with a veteran-laden roster returning, they make their way back to the hardwood to start the climb.

The opener on Monday night came at home against the Winthrop Eagles and it was a fairly dominating performance from start to finish, winning 78-56. This victory continued a trend where the Tigers had only lost one season-opening game in a stretch dating back to 1985. 

Winthrop - Clemson Basketball

Clemson took down Winthrop 78-56 in the season opener.

PJ Hall led the team with 20 points including five quick ones to start the game that got the Tigers out to a 7-0 lead. Clemson never trailed in this one but there were a couple of times in the first half when the Eagles got it down six points, threatening to make it a close game. Someone always had an answer however, including a big three from Chase Hunter with a minute left in the 1st half to stretch the lead to nine. It never got lower than that again.

Hall started the second half like he did the first, nailing a three and once the lead reached 12 it was a double-digit margin the rest of the way. Other key contributors included junior Ian Schiefflelin with 16 points and a team-high 7 rebounds, sophomore RJ Godfrey came off the bench to score 12, and senior Chase Hunter put in 10 of his own. Syracuse transfer Joe Girard didn't have a big night when it came to points but he did manage the point guard position leading the team with 4 assists.

Senior sharpshooter Alex Hemenway, who hit 3 of 4 three-point attempts, spoke to reporters after the game about the overall feeling getting of a win in the first game back, "Oh yeah, we're excited. Obviously first half coming out just gotta work out the first game back jitters but once we got that out of our system I felt like we played poised, we played well, executed well on offense, played well on defense, stuck to the game plan and that's all you can ask for at the end of the day."