Fresh off a gritty win over The Citadel, Clemson will now head to Columbia for the annual rivalry matchup with South Carolina. The Tigers have won four of the past five in the series.
Despite missing star big man P.J. Hall, who is out recovering from a knee injury, the Tigers (1-0) were able to grind out an 80-69 win over the Bulldogs at home on Monday. Chase Hunter led the way with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, giving fans a small sample size of what Brad Brownell is expecting from his junior guard.
"Our guys have a lot of confidence in him and he made some terrific plays not just scoring, pass the ball," Brownell said. "He showed poise. He can obviously get to different spots on the court, put pressure on the defense, because of his penetration and his size. He's bigger. You know, he's 6-foot-3.5 and 205-pounds so he can play over the top of some people and that was a big factor."
Sophomore Ian Schefflin also had a big night down low for Clemson, scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds, which helped ease the loss of Hall.
"He's got good bounce, got good legs to him," Brownell said. "Got good hands. And so when he gets his hands on balls, he's gonna get a lot. I mean he's always been a pretty good rebounder. Rebounds per minute are always pretty high."
The Gamecocks (1-0) also come in fresh off a season-opening win, getting by a feisty South Carolina State team at home 80-77.
South Carolina got big games from Hayden Brown and freshman GG Jackson, who scored 21 and 18 points respectively.
Jackson, a former 5-star recruit who is still just 17 years old, showed why he is considered by many to be a future NBA lottery pick, as he also added 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double in his collegiate debut.
All things considered, first-year head coach Lamont Paris liked what he saw, but is still looking for more from his team as they get set to host a fairly experienced Clemson team.
"We have a lot of guys who are in a new position, playing more than they've ever played, starting when they've never started, were in high school last year, or playing a completely different position," Paris said. "That's everybody on our whole floor."
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Heupel Discusses Possibility Of Opt-Outs for Tennessee's Orange Bowl Matchup With Clemson
With No. 7 Clemson and No. 6 Tennessee set to face off in the Orange Bowl later this month, Volunteers' head coach Josh Heupel was asked about the possibility of any of his players choosing to opt-out.
"There's a lot of learning still out there for us. And when I say learning, I mean tangible stuff that affects winning. We'll go back on some things like some basics. Pump faking and things like that. So I'm always reminded of the value of the basics. I'm always reminded of the value of the basics. Especially when you have a team where some of these guys that haven't been emphasized in their careers for the most part."
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