Tigers bounce back for 76 Classic win

Tanner Smith leads Clemson to the Tigers to a fifth win after suffering the season's first loss a day earlier.

After a disappointing loss to Texas A&M in the first round of the 76 Classic, Clemson bounced back on Friday to beat Long Beach State 87-79 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Clemson had a season-low four steals, but forced 15 turnovers for the sixth consecutive game, scoring 20 points off turnovers.

"The defense got us the lead with our pressure," coach Oliver Purnell said. "Offensively, we got a bunch of shots going to the basket, and we took our jump shots off of that. We really attacked in the lane."

All five Clemson starters scored in double figures. Tanner Smith finished with a career-high and team best 17 points and also grabbed seven rebounds.

Demontez Stitt scored a season best 16 and dished out five assists and committed just one turnover. He hit 7-14 shots, including 2-3 from 3-point distance.

"If we spread the floor, play as one and move the ball from side to side, teams can't focus on one player," he said.

Trevor Booker scored 12 and grabbed seven rebounds, despite playing just 23 minutes due to foul trouble. He passed Jim Brennan and Devin Gray for 16th in the Tiger record books in career scoring. Booker now has 1,324 points in his career and has started 108 straight games.

David Potter and Bryan Narcisse scored 11 and 10, respectively. Andre Young came off the bench to score 13 points and hand out five assists.

Narcisse started in place of Jerai Grant, who was out due to illness.

Though three players came off the bench for Long Beach State, two combined to play only three minutes. The 49ers got a career high 25 point performance from T.J. Robinson, who tied his career high in rebounds with 15. Casper Ware scored 20 points and tied the tournament's single-game record with 10 assists.

Friday's loss was the third straight for Long Beach State (3-3). With the win, Clemson improves to 5-1.

Booker was hit with his fourth foul nearly eight minutes into the second half. His younger brother Devin played important minutes down the stretch and chipped in with eight points and five rebounds.

Clemson led 30-29 when Potter scored three lay-ins within a span of 52 seconds to give the Tigers a 36-29 lead with 1:49 left in the first half. Clemson started the second half with a 7-0 run in the first 41 seconds to build a 45-34 advantage.

Long Beach cut the score to 61-60 with 8:55 to play. But a 6-0 run increased the Tigers' lead to 67-60 with 7:33 to play.

Following a season-low 60 points in the opening round against Texas A&M, the Tigers scored 87 points and had a season-best 57.6 percent field goal accuracy.

Clemson will face the winner of the Butler/UCLA game for fifth place on Sunday. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 EST on ESPNU.

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