After a 5-0 start, Clemson basketball is now ranked No. 18 in both major polls.
Tigers Blow Past Gardner-Webb
"We've already played a pretty tough schedule," Scruggs said. "Clemson has been by far the best team we've played, the reason being they can score it."
With Gardner-Webb sagging inside early to stop the post players, the Tigers (5-0) turned to guards Cliff Hammonds, who led Clemson with 16 points and made five of seven 3-pointers, and freshman reserve Terrence Oglesby, who had 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc.
And when Gardner-Webb (4-4) started to guard the perimeter, forwards James Mays and Trevor Booker stepped up. Booker has 15 points and seven rebounds, while Mays added 13 points and nine rebounds despite spraining his hip on a hard foul in the second half.
Clemson trailed just once at 3-2 and gave the Bulldogs their worst defeat this season. The Tigers shot 50.7 percent (34-67) from the field for the game and 57.9 percent (11-of-19) on 3-pointers.
"It really helps when you shoot the ball well," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said.
Scruggs expects the Tigers to make some noise in the ACC.
"A lot of time real athletic teams don't shoot the ball real well and you can take advantage of them in other ways," he said. "But the way they shot it today, they're going to be a hard out for anybody."
Purnell's had looked lethargic in a 74-57 win over Presbyterian three days ago.
So before they took the court, Purnell reminded his players of their last game: "We play this way this afternoon, we lose."
The Running Bulldogs stuck to their nickname and kept it close the first nine minutes, pressing the ball up the floor and keeping Clemson off balance.
But Booker then found Mays for an alley-oop reverse dunk that brought the sparse crowd to its feet. The Tigers scored on eight of their next 10 possessions, including two 3-pointers by Hammonds to take a 40-27 lead with five minutes left in the half.
The intensity was there on both ends. The Tigers had 11 steals and outrebounded Gardner-Webb 51-34. Jerai Grant had eight offensive rebounds for Clemson - more than half of Gardner-Webb's total for the entire game.
Nate Blank led the Bulldogs with 16 points, and Thomas Sanders added 15 points and six rebounds.
For Clemson, it was just another out-of-conference November win. The Tigers have won 18 in a row in the first month of the season and are 22-1 in November since Purnell became coach five seasons ago.
Clemson hasn't been able to sustain that success to the rest of the season. The Tigers haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1998 and watched a 17-0 start last season crash into a 8-11 finish, bolstered by four wins in a run to the NIT final.
"Hopefully, this season, we can keep things on track until the end," said K.C. Rivers, who had 13 points and was 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Clemson has a couple of days to rest before hosting Purdue on Tuesday night in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Clemson is 6-2 in the tournament, and only Duke and Wake Forest have better records as the event enters its ninth year.
CUTigers.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Waiver Wire Wednesday
Dr. Roto believes Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry will overtake WR Brian Hartline as the team's No. 2 receiver sooner rather than later. Stay ahead of the curve with Dr. Roto!Read More
Giants Strike First In Game One Rout
The San Francisco Giants came out swinging in Game One of the 2014 World Series, scoring three times in the first inning and never looking back.Read More
Three of earth’s best ingredients combined into one succulent strip. Tailgaters will bow in appreciation.Read More
National Anthem Played with a Gun!
Musical targets? Yes, this guy plays the national anthem while shooting musical targets.Read More
Late Season Eastern Steel
NAFC friend, Frank Scalish, is best known for his achievements as a professional bass fisherman, but when the weather cools, the tourneys are over and the last bass has been weighed, he dons waders,…Read More
- Mate swapping of the famed Suricata suricatta
- OFFICIAL GAME THREAD: No. 22 Clemson at Boston College
- Is there a team ranked ahead of us right now with a 1st year
- Chad Morris
- Gay marriage, churches, storm on the horizon