Brad Brownell is a tough man to please.
Clemson's Tigers finished off their non-conference schedule by routing The Citadel 92-51 Tuesday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum, led by freshman Adonis Filer's career-high 21 points. They shot 61 percent from the field and scored 44 points off 25 Bulldog turnovers.
Brownell liked what he saw offensively, but his bottom-line analysis was that the eighth victory of the season may have come a little too easy for the Tigers, who'll open ACC play at home on Saturday against Florida State.
"We were much better today offensively than defensively," said Brownell. "When got a lead, our guys didn't feel like playing as hard. We took some chances, gambled a little bit and got some steals and deflections, but (Citadel) shot too high a percentage (50 percent, 20-of-40).
"We made some mistakes defensively. Sometimes when you play a lot of guys, your understanding isn't as good and that's going to happen. But offensively, I thought we were better."
After a back-and-forth start, Clemson took command with a 21-2 run midway through the first half and opened up a 39-18 lead. Freshmen guards Filer and Jordan Roper combined for 21 first-half points, and the Tigers got key early scoring spurts from Milton Jennings and Landry Nnoko.
Clemson led 47-27 at halftime, despite playing without K.J. McDaniels, who sat out the first half after arriving late to a team function.
McDaniels started the second half and contributed three dunks to Clemson's second-half effort.
Devin Booker, meanwhile, played just 14 minutes after twisting his left ankle when he landed on the foot of a Citadel player. Brownell said that while the injury isn't serious, it's nonetheless a source of concern as the Tigers move into their ACC schedule. Booker injured the same ankle earlier in the season, Brownell said.
Filer was perfect from the floor - 7-of-7 overall and 4-of-4 from behind the arc. Roper added 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Damarcus Harrison scored 10. Rod Hall and McDaniels had nine each and Nnoko scored eight. Freshman Josh Smith had a team-high five rebounds in just eight minutes.
Senior center Mike Grosselle led The Citadel with 13 points. He was 6-of-7 from the field, but turned the ball over five times.
Citadel's 25 turnovers included 16 Clemson steals. Hall led the Tigers with four, Filer had three, and Roper, Harrison and McDaniels each had two.
The Tigers committed just eight turnovers and had 14 assists.
The loss was the seventh straight for coach Chuck Driesell's Bulldogs, while Clemson's 41-point winning margin marked its second straight highest-ever under Brownell since losing at Coastal Carolina two weeks ago.
"We've played better the past two games, but we've played opponents that we should beat at home handily, and we have," said Brownell. "Obviously, we're all still disappointed and not happy about our performance at Coastal. I don't forget those things very easily.
"Obviously, we talked about it and practiced some with that in mind some. But there does come a point when you have to let it go and move on and get after what's ahead of you. We certainly have a difficult ACC schedule, starting with a Florida State team that's playing good basketball fight now.
"They had some early losses with young players and are kind of going through some of the same things that we are."