Tigers open 2012-13 season with easy win over Blue Hose

Milton Jennings produced a team-high 15 points to lead Clemson to a 77-44 victory over Presbyterian College at Littlejohn Coliseum in the season opener for both teams on Monday. The Tigers, who won their 28th consecutive season opener, played all 12 active players on their roster and received scoring contributions from 10 of them.

Jennings was efficient from the field, hitting 6-of-7 shots, including several from long range. He added six rebounds, also a team-high, and two steals in just 20 minutes of action. Fellow senior Devin Booker added 11 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes. Freshman guard Jordan Roper was a third Tiger in double figures, as he bagged 11 in his first career game. Roper hit 5-of-7 field goals in 16 minutes. Damarcus Harrison and K.J. McDaniels added eight points apiece.

Clemson won all five specialty statistical areas, which included a +21 advantage off the bench. The Tigers outscored the Blue Hose in the paint, 30-20, while also outscoring PC 8-0 in fastbreak opportunities and 13-2 off of turnovers.

Joshua Clyburn led all players in the game with 19 points from a starting forward position for Presbyterian. He made 8-of-13 shots and also added a game-high nine rebounds. Ryan McTavish came off the bench to add 11 for Gregg Nibert’s team.

Clemson quickly built a 7-0 lead behind five early points from T.J. Sapp, who played only 13 minutes due to cramps. A 12-6 advantage for the Tigers quickly built into a 27-7 lead with 6:26 left in the opening half after a pair of free throws from Jennings. He also made a three-point basket during the run. The Blue Hose trimmed the lead to 15 after a pair of Clyburn free throws with 30 seconds left. Following a PC turnover with three seconds left in the half, Jennings was inserted into the game after just picking up his second foul. He promptly took a pass from Harrison and buried a 15-footer to extend the lead to 38-21 at the break.

The Tigers again started quickly in the second frame, as Jennings opened with a pair of layups. Booker hit a short jumper from Sapp, and McDaniels followed less than a minute later with his first of two three-pointers in the game. Suddenly, Clemson’s lead was 47-21 with 17:49 left in the game. From there, the Tigers cruised to the victory and played four of the team’s five freshmen significant minutes. The only freshman that did not was Jaron Blossomgame, who continues to recover from a broken leg suffered in April.

Clemson returns to action on Friday, Nov. 16 to take on Furman in Greenville, SC. It will be Clemson’s first game ever at Timmons Arena, and the Tigers’ first trip to Furman since the 1992-93 season. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM and also be streamed live by ESPN3.

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