Tigers bounce back from first loss with win over UTEP

Clemson made 10-of-12 three-point goals in the opening half to propel the Tigers to a 69-48 victory over UTEP in the second round of the Old Spice Classic at HP Field House.

The Tigers, who moved to 3-1 with the victory, will face Marist in the fifth place game on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised by ESPNU and carried on the Clemson Radio Network affiliates as well.

The Tigers finished the game hitting 75 percent of their three-point attempts, 12 out of 16. The percentage was fifth-best for a single game in school history. The percentage established an Old Spice Classic record for single-game accuracy from behind the arc. Clemson also moved to 15-1 all-time under Head Coach Brad Brownell when holding its opponent to 50 points or less.

Clemson had three players in double figures, led by Milton Jennings, who had a season-high 18 points. He made 5-of-8 field goals, including 4-of-5 from three, and all four of his free throw attempts. He added seven rebounds in a fine all-around effort. K.J. McDaniels added a career-best 17, making 6-of-8 overall and all four of his three-point attempts. He added six boards. Adonis Filer reached 10 points for the second straight game, scoring eight in the final half. On the boards, Clemson’s Devin Booker had a game-high 10 to lead the Tigers to a +9 advantage for the game.

Clemson made its first six three-pointers in the game and took an early 12-point lead at 15-3 just one media timeout into the contest. Jennings, McDaniels and Sapp each hit two apiece as the Tigers extended its lead to 22-7 at the 11:49 mark after an inside basket by McDaniels.

The Tigers had their largest lead of the half at 38-18 when McDaniels hit his fourth trifecta of the opening frame, but UTEP answered strongly with an 8-0 run over the final 3:30 to pull within 12 at intermission.

Clemson’s 10-for-12 performance in the opening half behind the arc was its best since a 9-for-9 second half effort from deep in a win over Georgia Tech.

Jennings made the lead 45-30 four minutes into the second stanza after banking in a three-pointer. Rod Hall followed with a layup and feed to Devin Booker, who dunked it in to push the lead to 49-32 with just under 14 minutes to play. He had another moments later off an unselfish fastbreak feed from Adonis Filer. Jennings hit a pair of free throws with 8:11 left to give Clemson another 15-point lead after battling for an offensive putback underneath the rim.

The second half lead reached 19 after Filer knocked in three from the charity stripe, and McDaniels followed by going 1-for-2 to eclipse his previous single-game scoring high set last season at Florida State.

John Bohannon led the Miners, who shot just 36.6 percent from the field. Bohannon had 15 points and made 7-of-11 field goals, while Julian Washburn chipped in 11 for Tim Floyd’s team.

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