McDaniels, who walked into the locker room at halftime with as many points as Stetson, scored the Tigers’ first 11 points. The junior from Birmingham had 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting in the first half, including 3 of 4 from behind the 3-pointline.
He finished with a game-high 20 points as Clemson cruised to a 71-51 win at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday night.
“I just had to go out there and have confidence, be ready, just be ready for the ball and attack hard,” McDaniels said. “I feel like that’s what helped me out the most, just being ready for the ball and knowing I have to shoot and get my team going.”
While McDaniels and his teammates were almost scoring at will in the first half, Stetson struggled to get any kind of offense going. After going on a near 8-minute stretch with no points, the Hatters went 5 of 24 from the field and 2 of 11 from long-range in the first half.
Clemson built its 46-15 halftime lead after closing the half on a 33-5 run.
“At the time, we were really locked in and focused, so we were getting defensive stops, rebounding, really getting out in transition and using our speed and athleticism,” Jordan Roper said.
“I told our guys, the people that watched the first half and were at the game and left, they think we’re great now and we’re ready to be the Lakers. If they watched the second half, they probably don’t think we can beat Edwards Middle School. We’re probably somewhere in between. Don’t apologize for a 20-point win at home. You had to play really, really well to get up 30. To beat somebody by 30 in a half is really hard to do.” - Brad Brownell
“I think we wanted to show our fans that we’re a new team this year, and just come out and play hard. I think we did that.” - Damarcus Harrison
“Played fast with low turnovers, which is really hard to do, so I was really pleased with that.” - Brownell
Half No. 2
“For whatever reason, in the second half we just came out a little sluggish. Give Stetson credit. I think they really kind of re-grouped. They’re a much better team than they played in the first half. I think they re-grouped and settled down a little bit. I think we took our foot of the accelerator and just relaxed, gave them a little confidence when they made a few shots.” - Brownell
“I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if we just played the scoreboard or what it was. We showed a little bit of immaturity there. They beat us in the second half. But we’re not going to apologize for a 20-point win. We played pretty well.” - Roper
“We’ve just got to learn from the second half, go out there and play hard each possession.” - McDaniels
“[Brownell] was kind of mad, but he knows we’ve got to learn from this, the first game, the little jitters we have. We’re still learning. We’ve got a lot of freshmen that played tonight. We’ve just got to learn from that.” - Harrison
“We have to just talk more. I feel like we need to talk a lot more, especially when we have guards in there. We have to talk early on switches…I feel like that’s all we need to do.” - McDaniels
“I think the new foul rule helped them. They got a lot of shots early, then they just started driving the ball and getting hand-check fouls, and they got on the free-throw line. I think that gave them confidence and they just kept attacking.” - Harrison
“I think we’re going to try to get up, when we can, get up and down. Some of the ability in the first half -- when you’re making that many stops -- you’ve got transition and you can go. In the second half, it slowed, because they’re scoring.” - Brownell
“That’s what we’re going to see more often. We practice it in practice. We do it everyday in practice, try to get our tempo going, in transition. The more we practice it, the more we keep repping it out we’ll do a lot better.” - McDaniels
“It was fun. It was definitely exciting, something I’ve been waiting on for a really long time. I really felt proud of myself, fighting back from this injury and being able to produce at a high level still, so being able to play with my guys today was a huge confidence boost for me.” - Jaron Blossomgame
“I thought Jaron was pretty solid in his time, scored a couple of different ways. Missed a couple of shots that if he makes, now, all of a sudden, he’s got a really big game, if he makes one of those 3s.” - Brownell