Despite missing star big man P.J. Hall, who is out recovering from a knee injury, the Tigers (1-0) were able to grind out an 80-69 win over the Bulldogs at home on Monday. Chase Hunter led the way with 23 points and seven assists, giving fans a small sample size of what coach Brad Brownell expects from his junior guard.
"Our guys have a lot of confidence in him and he made some terrific plays, not just scoring," Brownell said. "He showed poise. He can obviously get to different spots on the court, put pressure on the defense, because of his penetration and his size. He's bigger. You know, he's 6-foot-3 1/2 and 205 pounds so he can play over the top of some people and that was a big factor."
Ian Schieffelin also had a big night down low for Clemson, scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds, which helped ease the loss of Hall.
"He's got good bounce, got good legs to him," Brownell said. "Got good hands. And so when he gets his hands on balls, he's gonna get a lot. I mean he's always been a pretty good rebounder. Rebounds per minute are always pretty high."
The Gamecocks (1-0) are also coming off a tough season-opening win, edging South Carolina State 80-77 at home on Tuesday.
South Carolina got big games from Hayden Brown and freshman GG Jackson, who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Jackson, a former five-star recruit who is still just 17 years old, showed why he is considered by many to be a future NBA lottery pick. He added 10 rebounds for a double-double in his collegiate debut.
All things considered, first-year head coach Lamont Paris liked what he saw, but he is still looking for more from his team as it gets set to host a fairly experienced Clemson team.
"We have a lot of guys who are in a new position, playing more than they've ever played, starting when they've never started, were in high school last year, or playing a completely different position." Paris said. "That's everybody on our whole floor."
--Field Level Media
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