When his team was unexpectedly tested by Marist in its final-round game at the Old Spice Classic, Clemson men's basketball coach Brad Brownell 'shortened the bench' in the second half of the Tigers' eventual 59-44 victory.
The exceptions to the rule were freshman Adonis Filer and Damarcus Harrison, who are emerging as first-off-the-bench mainstays for the Tigers.
"I wasn't a very happy camper at halftime and got after our guys pretty good - especially our guys off the bench," said Brownell. "As well as they've played all year, they weren't very good, especially defensively. They were a big part of the run that the other team got at the end of the first half.
"In the second half, I thought Adonis (Filer) and Demarcus (Harrison) played much better. I had to shorten the bench a little bit and stay with the older guys."
After falling behind by six, 28-22, early in the second half, the Tigers clamped down defensively, simplified their offensive game, and put the ball in the hands of Filer and Rod Hall in the backcourt.
Filer finished with 10 points - his third straight 10-point game in Orlando - and eight rebounds.
"Physically, Adonis is further along than most of the other freshmen," Brownell said. "He's a big, strong kid and looks like the bigger guys in our league at the point. That helps, along with his quickness to the basket. He's a guy who's not afraid to go make a play."
So far this season, Filer is averaging 8.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 19.4 minutes per game.
He played 25 minutes against Marist, while Harrison logged 19 minutes and had six points and four rebounds. Freshman guard Jordan Roper played 11 minutes, sophomore forward Bernard Sullivan nine minutes, and freshman center Landry Nnoko four minutes. Freshman forward Josh Smith did not play.
Brownell said the late-game pairing of Filer and Hall is likely to be a common occurrence for the Tigers.
"One of the things you're going to see a lot of the time is Rod and Adonis out there together - two point guard types," said Brownell. "Both can drive the ball and both can handle it against pressure. I think that's something significant that we'll need to get better at as the season goes on."