Torrid! Hot-shooting Tigers blow away UTEP 69-48 in Old Spice Classic

Three-point shooting puts Clemson in command early, Miners never make a run

Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels grabs a rebound over Presbyterian guard Ryan McTavish in the second half of the Tigers' season opener at Littlejohn Coliseum Monday night.

Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels grabs a rebound over Presbyterian guard Ryan McTavish in the second half of the Tigers' season opener at Littlejohn Coliseum Monday night.

Premature ESPN-generated conventional wisdom, based on two early-season games, said the Tigers couldn't stand on the beach and throw it in the ocean.

So much for early-season perception.

The facts of the matter say the Tigers have the capability, on any given night, to shoot their opponents right out of the water.

Such was the case in Clemson's 69-48 victory Friday night over Texas-El Paso in the second round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

The Tigers changed the game from the get-go by hitting their first six three-point shots, and were in command from start-to-finish en route to their cruise-control victory over the Niners.

Milton Jennings, T.J. Sapp, K.J. McDaniels and Jordan Roper found their long-range touch early against UTEP.

McDaniels scored a career-high 17 points, and the Tigers got the rest of their scoring from far-and-wide. UTEP, after falling behind 29-7 early, was never really in the game.

It could be argued that UTEP controlled the tempo against the Tigers, forcing a faster pace than Clemson would have liked.

But it didn't matter. Clemson took the tempo and declared it its own.

Team Notes

The Tigers will face Marist in the fifth place game of the event on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 11:30 AM. The game will be televised by ESPNU.

Sunday’s game will be the first ever for the Tigers against Marist, who hail from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Red Foxes knocked off Vanderbilt, 50-33, earlier Friday. Clemson is 10-0 all-time versus teams currently in the MAAC.

Clemson improved to 15-1 all-time under Head Coach Brad Brownell when holding an opponent to 50 points or less. The Tigers are 2-0 this season in that scenario.

Clemson’s .750 three-point percentage (12-for-16) established a single-game record for the Old Spice Classic, which is in its seventh year as a tournament. The Tigers’ 12 three-pointers also tied the existing tournament record for a single game, achieved multiple times.

The .750 three-point percentage figure is fifth-best in school history. The Clemson record is .846 (11-for-13) against North Carolina in 2004.

Clemson made 10-of-12 threes in the opening half from three, just one off the school record for three-pointers in a half. The Tigers had 11 in the first half of the 2002 game at Maryland, and 11 in the second half at Virginia Tech in 2006.

For the first time in Clemson history, two forwards made at least four three-pointers in the same game. K.J. McDaniels, Clemson’s starting small forward, was 4-for-4 and Milton Jennings, Clemson’s starting power forward, was 4-for-5.

Friday’s game was the first time two Tigers had at least four made three-pointers in the same game since Tanner Smith and Andre Young did so in the 2011 ACC Tournament semifinals against North Carolina.

Individual Notes

Jennings produced a season-high with 18 points Friday against UTEP. He had 10 last season in the loss to the Miners, so he has averaged 14 per game the last two years against UTEP.

The 18 points by Jennings is the most by any Tiger player in the 2012-13 season, and is his second-highest figure behind a 22-point performance versus Furman in 2011-12.

Jennings made 4-of-5 from behind the arc to improve to 6-of-13 for the season, 46 percent.

McDaniels scored a career-high 17 in Friday’s ballgame. The 6-foot-6 sophomore also set a career-best with four made three-pointers in as many attempts. He is now 7-for-12 on the season, 58 percent overall from long distance.

Devin Booker grabbed 10 rebounds against UTEP, the first double-digit rebound effort by a Tiger since he grabbed the same number at Florida State last March.

Booker now has 521 rebounds for his career, putting him just 20 shy of ranking among the top 25 in Clemson history.

Adonis Filer has produced back-to-back 10-point games in the tournament. The freshman from Chicago, IL had eight of his 10 in the second half – the same amount he had in Thursday’s loss to Gonzaga. Filer grabbed a season-best four rebounds Friday as well in 17 minutes.

Jordan Roper made his only three-point attempt and has now made at least one in three of Clemson’s four games. The only game he failed to make a three was at Furman on Nov. 16.

Rod Hall tallied a career-high eight assists Friday against UTEP. He had only two turnovers and now possesses a 20-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season.

T.J. Sapp scored a season-high eight points Friday. He made his first two from outside the arc to ignite Clemson’s offense, and then added a driving baseline layup to start the second half.

The Tigers moved on in the consolation bracket, and will play Marist in their third game Sunday. Following for the Tigers are high-profile games against Purdue and Arizona.

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