Clemson fan favorite Lyles Davis pulled up from well behind the 3-point line late in Clemson’s 64-37 win against Wake Forest Sunday afternoon, and the 5-foot-11 guard’s shot found nothing but the bottom of the net, resulting in the loudest ovation of the day at Littlejohn Coliseum.
It was that kind of afternoon for the Tigers as everything seemed to go right in the 27-point victory that gave Clemson its second consecutive ACC win. Clemson is now 3-5 in league play after getting off to a 1-5 start.
“Just a great win by our guys,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Really nice to see 40 minutes of quality defense. I thought our energy level was really high and our activity level was great.”
Clemson led 30-18 at halftime and used a 15-2 run to start the second half to put the game away. The Tigers built their largest lead of the game at 29 points on the 3-pointer by Davis, a former walk-on, that sent Littlejohn into a frenzy with under two minutes remaining.
“Play of the game, play of the year, probably. I was excited. I almost ran to the other team’s bench because I was just so happy to see him hit that shot,” Clemson senior Elijah Thomas said. “He does a lot of things behind closed doors that you guys and fans don’t get to see… He puts pressure on our guards and makes them play at a different level. Lyles Davis, he’s an incredible teammate and I was so happy he hit that shot today.”
While Davis had the shot of the day, it was Thomas who had one of his best games of the year, putting up 23 points on 10 of 11 shooting and also pulling down 10 rebounds.
Thomas added seven blocks, dominating the Demon Deacons down low all afternoon.
“Eli was special. He just was a difference maker,” Brownell said. “Certainly his ability to finish and make plays around the rim was key for us offensively. Just proud of the way our guys approached this week. We had a really good week.”
Other than Thomas the Tigers had a balanced scoring attack with no other players finishing in double figures. Leading scorer Marcquise Reed had nine points and four assists, while David Skara added seven points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Wake Forest outrebounded Clemson 41 to 34 but had 16 turnovers compared to 11 for Clemson, and the Tigers blocked 10 shots, while Wake Forest had only three.
Wake Forest was led by Chaundee Brown, who had 12 points and four rebounds. The Demon Deacons finished with only 14 made field goals.
“Today’s game for us was a struggle, most definitely on the offensive end,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. “I thought in the first half we fought and clawed our way back to within 12 points at half, and we came out in the second half and missed some opportunities to score and didn’t make shots from the perimeter and didn’t get to the free throw line.”
Clemson returns to action on Wednesday as the Tigers play at Georgia Tech 11-11 (3-6).