No. 22 Clem­son uses fast start to de­feat NC Cen­tral in col­lege hoops

The State - - Sports - BY PETE IACOBELLI

David Skara scored 16 points and No. 22 Clem­son opened a large early lead in cruis­ing to a 71-51 vic­tory over North Carolina Cen­tral on Fri­day night.

It was a matchup of NCAA Tour­na­ment teams from a year ago. While the Tigers reached the Sweet 16, Mid-Eastern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Tour­na­ment cham­pion North Carolina Cen­tral lost to Texas South­ern in the First Four.

Skara, a Val­paraiso trans­fer in his se­cond and fi­nal sea­son with the Tigers, has reached dou­ble fig­ures in both games as Clem­son opened 2-0 for the 17th time in 18 years. He scored in dou­ble dig­its only once last sea­son.

Aamir Simms had 14 points and Shel­ton Mitchell 11 for Clem­son. The team’s lead­ing scorer last sea­son, Mar­c­quise Reed, was held to six points on 1-of-7 shoot­ing.

Not that it mat­tered much. Clem­son started the game by hit­ting its first eight shots against the Ea­gles (0-1).

Skara’s jumper with 11:24 left in the first half put the Tigers up 23-11 and they were never se­ri­ously chal­lenged the rest of the way. Clem­son built the lead to 28 in the se­cond half.

North Carolina Cen­tral, which has made three NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances over the past five years, hurt it­self with 11 first-half turnovers and a pair of scor­ing droughts that lasted more than four min­utes. The Ea­gles trailed 40-20 at half­time.

Raasean Davis, the Ea­gles’ lead­ing scorer at 15 points per game last sea­son, was held to four points on 2-of-5 shoot­ing in the open­ing pe­riod.

He fin­ished with 14 points and Zac­cary Dou­glas had 12.

THE BIG PIC­TURE North Carolina Cen­tral:

The Ea­gles will do a lot of fly­ing the next cou­ple of weeks with trips to Cincin­nati, Bowl­ing Green and Ge­orge Ma­son. North Carolina Cen­tral hopes the rough open­ing sched­ule will make it ready when Mid-Eastern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play starts.

Clem­son: The Tigers came out fast and did what they needed to take con­trol. Then they mostly set­tled for out­side shots and stingy de­fense to keep in front. Clem­son will have to be more on tar­get with its shoot­ing when it goes up against Power Five com­pe­ti­tion later this month.

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