The talk around the Clemson men’s basketball program this week was transfer guard Shelton Mitchell being sidelined with a knee injury, but it was fellow transfer Marcquise Reed who came up big in the Tigers’ 74-64 season-opening win over Georgia in the newly renovated Littlejohn Coliseum.
Reed led the Tigers with 19 points, including a critical 7-0 run in the second half, as Clemson pulled away for the victory in front of a sold-out crowd Friday night.
“What a memorable night here at Clemson,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “This was exciting for me personally, especially with how hard myself and others have been fighting to make this new arena a reality. It feels like a whole new place. To see that kind of turnout was special, and I couldn’t be more proud with the way we won.”
Clemson led 40-30 at halftime and extended its lead to 13 early in the second half before Georgia responded with a 14-4 run to pull within three.
Reed answered with a mid-range jumper, steal, layup and 3-pointer to extend Clemson’s lead back to 10.
“I knew we needed a bucket,” Reed said. “Basketball is a game of runs. They went on their run so we went on our run.”
Georgia got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Reed iced the game with a 3-pointer with under two minutes left. The Tigers led by 10 when Donte Grantham pulled in an offensive rebound and passed to an open Reed, who fired the 3-pointer despite the shot clock having just reset.
“I was a little nervous. I’m not going to lie,” Brownell said. “It was wide open and it was in rhythm. It’s that whole thing with eat clock. I would’ve probably wanted to pull it out, but he didn’t disappoint.”
Reed led a balanced scoring attack for the Tigers, as all six of Clemson’s scorers had at least eight points.
Gabe DeVoe, who started in place of Mitchell, scored 15 on 6 of 12 shooting, while preseason All-ACC selection Jaron Blossomgame added 13. Sidy Djitte finished with nine rebounds.
Georgia was led by forward Yante Maten, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds.