Clemson drops Wake Forest
Jerai Grant
Jerai Grant
Posted Feb 26, 2011

CLEMSON - With a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament still in play, Clemson cruised by Wake Forest with a 63-49 win at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday.

Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant each scored 14. Devin Booker recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“Really, a blue collar win. I thought that was the best way to describe it,” said Clemson head coach Brad Brownell. “I think we were pretty aggressive defensively. Maybe not right at the start, but shortly thereafter.”

Milton Jennings, who came off the bench to score eight points and grab five rebounds, said there were moments when his team played to the level of the worst team in the ACC.

“They can score. Their problem is they have to play defense along with it,” he said. “But we definitely played down to them a few times today.”

With the win, Clemson improved to 19-9 (8-6 ACC) and Wake Forest dropped to 8-21 (1-13 ACC).

The Demon Deacons took a 9-8 lead after the first media timeout. After an 8-0 run, the Tigers never looked back.

Jeff Bzdelik’s team shot 34 percent from the field, including a 24 percent effort in the first half. From behind the 3-point line, Wake Forest went 2-for-12 (17 percent).

“They were pressuring us so much,” he said. “The best thing to do was spread the ball and drive through the pressure. We were able to do that. We just couldn’t score.”

Clemson held Wake Forest to a scoreless stretch of 4:14 late in the first half as the Tigers managed to build a 16-point lead. The Demon Deacons managed to cut into the deficit with a 33-20 halftime score.

At the break, Brownell instructed his team to look to the low-post for early second half points. Booker hit the team’s first two field goals, which eventually opened up some looks on the perimeter.

“Not falling in love that Wake was going to the zone—not to fall in love with the jump shot,” Brownell said. “There were going to be a lot of jump shots there, but don’t take the first one there unless it’s a rhythm shot. Look inside, first.

“Make sure that we try to get a touch inside, first. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.”

Up next for Clemson is a Wednesday night trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a meeting with Duke on senior night. The Tigers and Blue Devils tipoff at 9 p.m.

“You knew the league office was going to make one of the new coaches go to Duke on senior night. I was the guy that got the short straw,” Brownell said. “Is that how that works? It’s certainly a daunting task.”

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