CLEMSON, S.C. – Cold shooting by the Trojans and scoring runs in each half by the Tigers propelled Clemson past Anderson, 75-48, in men's basketball exhibition action Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
In the first meeting on the hardwood between Anderson and Clemson since the 2014-15 preseason and just the second since the AU men's basketball program began competing as a four-year institution in the 1995-96 campaign, the Trojans looked much more comfortable in the second half.
"I was really proud of our guy's effort tonight against a solid ACC opponent," said Anderson head coach Jeff Brookman. "We played extremely hard and competed for 40 minutes. It was a very good test for us early in the season. We played some solid basketball for stretches and at the same time have a lot to improve on."
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Junior guard Kai Rivers led all scorers with 17 points – including 11 points in the second half - on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, while going 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. Junior forward Josh Livingston added nine points for the Trojans and grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Junior guard Quin Nottingham struggled from the field, but was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe on the night.
Sophomore forward Matt Brown posted five points and pulled down four rebounds, with senior guard Shawn Benard dishing out three assists and swiping a game-high four steals.
Clemson junior Aamir Simms posted a double-double with a team-high 16 points and recorded 10 rebounds, while Curran Scott added 15 points for the Orange and Purple. Graduate student Tevin Mack chipped in 14 points, with sophomore Hunter Tyson tallied 11 points in 17 minutes of action.
HOW IT HAPPENED
While the Tigers' Mack scored the first bucket of the game inside the first minute, Clemson came up empty on eight of its first nine possessions. However, AU was unable to capitalize, as Rivers dropped in a driving layup at the 18:27 mark to deadlock the score, but the Trojans' misfired on their next five field-goal attempts and committed a pair of turnovers.
During the field-goal drought, Nottingham dropped in two free throws that gave the Trojans their lone lead of the contest, at 4-2, with 16:57 left in the opening half. With the Trojans struggling to find the bottom of the net, Clemson opened up 16-point advantage (22-6) by rattling off a 20-2 scoring run.
Rivers and Brown then sandwiched layups around a basket by CU's Curran and following a layup by Simms, Brown drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to pull AU within 26-13 with 7:12 on the clock. Clemson responded with eight straight points before Rivers dropped in another layup to close out the first-half scoring with the Tigers holding a 34-15 edge.
AU heated up in the second half, as the Black and Gold shot 50 percent from the field, but as hot as the Trojans were in the final frame, the Tigers were even hotter – shooting 57.7 percent.
The Trojans opened the second half on a 7-2 run, which was fueled by four points from Rivers and capped by a 3-pointer by Livingston from deep in the left corner. Clemson steadily built a 23-point advantage and was leading 64-36 before freshman guard Crosby James and Livingston connected on back-to-back treys from the left side that trimmed the deficit to 64-42.
Clemson countered with seven consecutive straight points, while the Trojans' Foster Bridges halted the run with a layup and followed a basket by CU's Parker Fox with a slam on the other end with 1:24 on the clock. Nottingham connected on two free throws inside the final minute and the Tigers' Paul Grinde closed out the scoring with a jumper.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans were 12-of-24 from the field in the second half and knocked down 5-of-8 treys in the final half.
• Clemson shot 47.5% from the field on the night, while the Trojans were 18-of-53 (34.0%)
• Clemson outrebounded the Trojans, 44-27.
• The Trojans forced Clemson into 16 turnovers.
• The Trojans dropped a 62-36 exhibition decision to Clemson prior to the 2014-15 regular season.
• AU stunned the College of Charleston, 65-49, in an exhibition early in the 2012-13 campaign.
• The Trojans struggled from beyond the arc, going just 6-of-20 from long range, including just 1-for-12 in the opening half.
• The Trojans were 6-of-8 (75.0%) from the free throw line, while Clemson was 11-of-14 (78.6%) on the night.
• Clemson grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the first half, but were limited to just three offensive boards in the final 20 minutes.
The Trojans will open the regular season on Nov. 8-9 at the Conference Challenge, hosted by Flagler in St. Augustine, Fla. AU will face Lander that Friday afternoon and wrap up action at the Challenge by squaring off against the host Saints, Saturday night.
Clemson is slated to open the regular season at home on Tuesday against Atlantic Coast Conference-opponent Virginia Tech.