Strong second half propels Clemson to victory

By JOHN CLAYTON

Associated Press

GREENVILLE — Jaron Blossomgame led Clemson with 22 points en route to a 76-56 victory over Texas Southern on Thursday night.

Clemson (3-0) built an eight-point lead with just under 16 minutes to play and never trailed thereafter.

Texas Southern led 33-31 at halftime behind 7 of 17 shooting from 3-point range, but was outscored 21-4 over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Blossomgame, who led his team in scoring last season as a sophomore, was Clemson’s top scorer for the second time in three games this season. He scored 18 in a season-opening victory over North Carolina Central.

His 22 points against Texas Southern came on 9 of 16 shooting, and he added nine rebounds and two assists.

Malcom Riley led Texas Southern (0-3) with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including 3 of 7 3-point attempts. He added five rebounds, second on the team behind David Blanks’ six. Chris Thomas was the only other Texas Southern player in double figures with 11.

After Texas Southern’s initial scoring burst in the first half, the visiting Tigers connected on 8 of 30 (27 percent) field-goal attempts in the second, including 2 of 12 (17 percent) from beyond the arc.

Clemson used its size to its advantage, outscoring Texas Southern 42-20 in the paint and outrebounding the visiting Tigers 41-30.

Reserve center Sidney Djitte turned in the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Clemson. Jordan Roper added 14 points, while Donte Grantham and Landy Nnoko added 11 points apiece for Clemson. Djitte and Nnoko, who starts at center, combined for 22 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Texas Southern led by as many as 8 points in the early going, but Clemson battled back, finally taking its first lead of the game at 18-17 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Clemson struggled against the overall speed of Texas Southern’s smaller lineup in the opening minutes of the game, but switched to a 2-3 zone and successfully slowed Texas Southern’s attack.There were seven lead changes over the first 20 minutes.

Despite its late struggles, including only 23 second-half points, Texas Southern is the first team to eclipse the 50-point plateau against Clemson in three games this season. Opponents are averaging 47 points against Clemson thus far.

TIP-INS

Texas Southern: Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis, who succeeded Bob Knight at Indiana and also previously coached at Alabama-Birmingham, remains five victories shy of his 300th career win.

Clemson: Clemson has made 27 3-point attempts through its first three games, hitting 27 of 64 (42 percent) tries from 3-point range.

UP NEXT

Texas Southern at Howard on Monday.

Clemson at Massachusetts on Monday.