GREENVILLE, S.C. — Clemson men’s basketball took home a 76-56 victory over Texas Southern at The Well on Thursday. The win moved the Tigers to 3-0 on their season, while Texas Southern fell to 0-3. Clemson overcame a halftime deficit, its first of the season, to win by the final lopsided margin.
“What a terrific second half for our team,” said head coach Brad Brownell. “We made a consistent effort to get the ball inside, and that’s what we did. I thought our guards showed good discipline.
“I am really proud of the way our kids came out after halftime.”
Sidy Djitte scored a career-high in both points (13) and rebounds (11), securing his first double-double as a Tiger.
“Sidy is one of our most improved players,” Brownell said. “I give the credit to him because [his game] is a product of two years of labor.”
Jaron Blossomgame scored double figures (22) for the third time this season, while contributing nine rebounds as well. Jordan Roper also put up double figures (14) for the second straight game, one of five Tigers to make that claim Thursday.
The opening half got off to a slow start for the Tigers. They trailed 12-4 before the first media timeout. However, they were able to get things moving thanks to a pair of threes by Jordan Roper. From then on, it was a back and forth affair on the court, with the Tigers heading into the half trailing 33-31.
The Tigers got off to a hot start in the second half, going on a 12-0 run over 3:02 and improving their cushion to 43-35. Djitte’s 10 points in the second half sparked the Tiger offense. Blossomgame also came to life with 14 of his points after intermission.
The Tigers travel to Las Vegas, Nev., to take part in next week’s Men Who Speak Up Main Event at the MGM Grand. Clemson faces UMass on Monday, November 23 at 9:30 p.m. ET, with the winner advancing to face Creighton or Rutgers.
Clemson vs. Texas Southern
- Clemson moved to 3-0 on the season, and has held all three opponents to 56 or less.
- The Tiger defense was strong, particularly in the second half. Clemson held Texas Southern to just 26.7 percent in the frame.
- Clemson shot 50 percent from the floor, the second straight game the Tigers shot at least 50 percent. The Tigers did it just once as a team in 2014-15 (31 games).
- The win Thursday was just the fourth time in Clemson history the Tigers overcame a halftime deficit to win by 20 or more points.
- Sidy Djitte posted his first career double-double in his 67th game. The junior center posted 13 points and 11 rebounds.
- Djitte’s point and rebound totals were both career highs.
- Jaron Blossomgame scored double figures for the third game this season, and for the 31st time in his career.
- Blossomgame scored a team-high 22 points, tied for the second-highest scoring output of his career.
- Blossomgame had a career-high three blocked shots.
- Blossomgame tied a career high with nine field goals Thursday.
- Jordan Roper posted double figures for a second straight game, scoring 14 points for the Tigers.
- Roper led the Tigers in assists for a third straight game, and on the season has a 16-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Clemson vs. Texas Southern
Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
“Well, terrific second half by our team, really proud that our guys came out from halftime and really competed. We knew Texas Southern would really be ready, they had a little time to get their legs under them. (Malcolm) Riley and (Chris) Thomas are two really talented players, and we could not guard them man to man most of the time; they were just five small guys and it was a matchup problem for us, the speed with which they ran up and down the court and ran their stuff, it was tough. We knew that would be a problem and hoped we would do a little better, but we didn’t, they made seven threes and we probably had a few bad offensive possessions in the first half. We took a few shots that we don’t need to take, and because of that, we found ourselves in a hole. We really rallied though, made a consistent effort to get the ball inside in the second half, we did that well and guys made plays and finished. Then our zone helped us in the second half, and late in the first half.”
On Sidy Djitte’s breakout performance:
“He has been playing well all fall, I’ve been saying that. He is one of our most improved players. He is only about three weeks off of meniscus surgery, so he is probably not 100 percent to where we would like to get him. He has always been a good rebounder and physical defender, and he is just a guy that we have continued to work. Mike (Winiecki) does a good job with our big guys, and we have just continued to work with him, improving his back to the basket game. So, credit to him because it has been a product of two years of labor, and now we are starting to see the results. He had a very productive first game for us, I think he had nine points and was 3-3 in free throws, then he came in and gave us a big spark when Landry (Nnoko) got in some early foul trouble tonight.”
On if the halftime speech was about finishing around the basket:
“Yes, we missed some shots around the rim. That happens, but we also took some bad shots or more difficult shots then we needed to, shots that we have taken in the other games that when you have had leads and have been able to play a little looser will go down more often. We had some possessions that we didn’t take advantage of. We did miss some shots around the rim, at halftime we certainly talked about, hey this ball is going inside, whatever we have to do to get it inside, we have a size advantage here, I only want open threes and inside baskets. I thought our guys showed good discipline, the guards showed good discipline and patience to find them and make good post feeds and then we founds threes on penetration later in the possessions.”
Clemson Player Quotes
Junior center Sidy Djitte
On strong second half finish:
“The most important part of the second half was us getting stops. They were making too many shots in the first half and we couldn’t get stops. But in the second half we were able to get shots and finish at the same time.”
On entering the game so early in the first half:
“I was ready and prepared for it. This is basketball, so anything can happen.”
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work this summer, and I’m glad it’s paying off. It’s great to know that my teammates can count me finishing around the rim.”
Junior forward Jaron Blossomgame
On second-half adjustments:
“We wanted to emphasize getting stops. We felt like our offense was fine in the first half, but we couldn’t get stops. We wanted to emphasize defense in the second half, so we did. First time we’ve faced adversity so far, and I think it was good for us to be down and the guys responded to it really well, so that was really positive for us.”
On team’s efficiency:
“I feel like I played pretty well and my teammates found me in some good spots. I build confidence by seeing other guys’ shots go in. Seeing guys do well makes everybody want to play harder. Getting the crowd involved and Landry’s (Nnoko) ability to block shots and score and having guys like Avry (Holmes) and Jordan (Roper) is definitely good for the team. Having everyone involved and playing as a unit is good for the team and I think we did that well tonight.”
On what to look for out of Last Vegas:
On the team’s mindset moving forward:
“We just have to keep believing in each other and playing confident like we have been. We have to keep doing what we’re doing and things will work out well for us.”