Blossomgame leads Clemson past High Point 62-59
Nov. 29, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame knew he had to wake himself up after the start he had against High Point. He accomplished it just in time Friday night to lead the Tigers to victory.
Blossomgame had 14 points, all in the second half, and 13 rebounds in Clemson's 62-59 win over the Panthers.
After his 0-of-5 shooting in a scoreless first half, Blossomgame wanted to bring the energy the team had been lacking. "I had to wake myself up," said Blossomgame, who had his first double-double since Clemson's win over Duke last January. "Mentally, I just wasn't in the game. I felt kind of cloudy."
Once the fog lifted, Blossomgame was near unstoppable and a big reason for the Tigers (4-2) third straight win.
He made four of six shots from the field, six of seven from the foul line and made a big block on Brian Richardson's driving layup with 38 seconds left and Clemson up 58-56.
"In the second half, I became more aggressive and shots started to fall for me," he said.
It was a welcome change for the Tigers, who had struggled this season against opponents they're expected to beat. They fell to Winthrop (77-74) and Gardner-Webb (72-70), both teams that play in High Point's Big South Conference.
For a stretch late in the second half, it looked like the Panthers (4-2) would make Clemson 0-3 in the Big South.
Clemson's 51-42 lead with nine minutes left shrunk to 60-59 on Davante Wallace's 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left. But Demarcus Harrison answered with two foul shots to preserve the win.
Wallace let a 3-pointer fly at the buzzer that was off the mark.
John Brown led all scorers with 26 points for High Point.
"It was just a couple of more plays that we needed to make," High Point coach Scott Cherry said. "If we had made a couple more open shots that we had gotten in the half court, I think it could've been a little bit different story."
Landry Nnoko gave the Tigers two players with double-doubles, finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Clemson was back at home after an eventful trip to the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. The Tigers were beaten by Gardner-Webb 72-70 in part when freshman Donte Grantham called a time out the team did not have in the final seconds, leading to the Bulldogs making two foul shots that put them up for good.
Clemson bounced back in its two other tournament games, topping Nevada 59-51 before rallying past LSU in the final four minutes for a 64-61 victory.
The Tigers played all but two minutes without senior point guard Rod Hall, who appeared to twist an ankle early and came off the floor.
LEARNING TO WIN
Clemson coach Brad Brownell said his team's penchant for close games — it's had four of six so far decided in the final minute — should help them during Atlantic Coast Conference play. "It's not good for a head coach, I can tell you that," Brownell said. "But it is good for your team."
WHAT ABOUT SATURDAY
Brownell said Clemson's staff will be breaking down film Saturday morning preparing for Rutgers on Monday night. "But we'll be all in at 12," he said with a smile. The football Tigers play host to rival South Carolina starting noon Saturday.
Point guard Rod Hall missed all but two minutes after twisting an ankle. Brownell said the senior is day-to-day, but is expected to be back for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Monday night against Rutgers.
High Point: The Panthers started 4-1 for the first time since their inaugural Division I season of 1999-00. They won their next game, then went 6-16 the rest of the way.
Clemson: The 16 first-half points given up by the Tigers were their fewest since holding Stetson to 15 in the opening game of the 2013-14 season.
High Point plays at UNC Greensboro on Monday night.
Clemson plays host to Rutgers on Monday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.