Dawes Shines as Clemson Rolls Past Pitt
Courtesy Clemson Athletics PITTSBURGH — A combination of solid 3-point shooting and a second-half surge from Al-Amir Dawes resulted in the Clemson University men’s basketball team knocking off Pitt on the road. Led by Tevin Mack and the aforementioned Dawes, the Tigers beat the Panthers 72-52 at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday.Going 13-of-22 from behind the arc, Clemson (12-12, 6-8) was efficient on 3-point attempts. Pitt (15-10, 6-8) was held to 31.3 percent shooting from the floor, while the Tigers produced an overall shooting percentage of 50 percent. Clemson also outrebounded Pitt 35-29, recorded 18 assists on its 22 field goals and was a favorable 15-for-20 on free throws.Dawes scored 18 points on the night, and 17 of those points came in the second half. The floor general sank a season-best four 3-balls to go along with his five assists. Mack finished with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Aamir Simms returned after missing the previous game with the flu and was solid, registering 12 points, five dimes and four boards. Justin Champagnie led Pitt with 11 points and six rebounds.Runs were aplenty in the ACC tilt, but Clemson never trailed after using a 7-0 run to take an 18-12 lead at the 10:31 mark of the second half. Mack showed out in the first half, knocking down shots both in the lane and from 3-point range. Much like he did his last time out, Alex Hemenway provided the Tigers with a lift off the bench, draining a pair of treys and going 3-for-3 from the floor for an 8-point output in the first half.
Clemson went up by nine in the first half, but Pitt manufactured a 7-0 run of its own to cut that lead down to two. The Tigers outscored the Panthers 7-1 in the final 4:29 of the first half and sported a 32-24 advantage at the intermission. In the second half, Clemson came out firing, scoring the first eight points out of the break as part of a 16-5 run that spanned approximately seven minutes of action following halftime. Pitt battled back, decreasing its deficit from 19 to six, but the Panthers were unable to hold Dawes in check down the stretch, with Clemson building its lead back up and coming away with an emphatic 72-52 victory.Next up, Clemson will return home to Littlejohn Coliesum and take on No. 5 Louisvillle (21-4, 12-2) for the second time this season. On Saturday, Jan. 25, Louisville defeated Clemson 80-62 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The Cardinals and the Tigers will meet again on Saturday, Feb. 15. Set to tip off at 4 p.m., the contest in Clemson, S.C., will air on ACC Network.Get the latest news on all things Clemson men’s basketball by following us on Twitter (@ClemsonMBB), Facebook (/ClemsonMBB) and Instagram (@clemsonmbb).
Clemson Head Coach Brad BrownellOpening statement: “We did some good things tonight. This was a great performance. I thought our bench players were the guys who got us going early on. All of a sudden, we made some shots and got some excitement from the bench. Those guys were excited to play. I thought we competed exceptionally hard. We mixed in some zone in the first half and played primarily zone in the second half. That worked out well. I’m really happy for our players. I’m happy that, from start to finish, they played about as well as they could’ve played.”On Clemson’s top performers: “Al-Amir [Dawes] was terrific tonight. Obviously, when he’s making shots like that, it changes our team. It was great to have Aamir [Simms] back. He settles us down and makes so many heady plays. Alex [Hemenway] continued his hot shooting. I just loved the way he played tonight. Trey [Jemison] came in and rebounded well, getting four offensive rebounds.”On the keys to the win: “This was a great win. This was what we needed. I think the bench was part of that. Curran [Scott] was aggressive. He made a shot and got fouled early on. It was important that we got off to a good start. I felt good about our chances if we got off to a good start, and we did an unbelievable job. Pitt made a big run, but Al-Amir made a big shot that put that run out, and it never came back. This was a good team win.”