K.J. McDaniels scored 11 of his game-high 15 points in the secondhalf and posted a double-double to lead Clemson to a 61-53 victory over WakeForest on Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum. With the win, the Tigers matchedtheir win total from last season (13) and moved to 4-1 in the ACC for the firsttime since 1996-97. Wake fell to 12-6 overall, 2-3 in the ACC.
For the second straight year, McDaniels stole the show against theDemon Deacons. The junior followed up last year's impressive performance with a15-point, 12-rebound effort Saturday. He added four blocked shots, giving him11 over Clemson's last two home games with Wake Forest. Jordan Roper added 11points, while Adonis Filer and Landry Nnoko chipped in eight apiece.
Wake Forest had three scorers in double figures, led by CoronWilliams with 13 points. The Deacons shot just 36 percent for the game.Clemson, conversely, shot 46.5 percent and a strong 18-for-21 (.857) at thefree throw line. The Tigers added 10 blocks, the third time this season Clemsonhad a double digit total.
The game was sluggish early, as the two teams struggled to shootthe ball and Clemson was guilty of too many turnovers. After Wake had taken a7-2 lead, Ibrahim Djambo swished a three from the top to tie the game. It wasDjambo's first made three since Nov. 29. The Tigers fought to tie it twoadditional times in the half before taking their first lead at 15-14 on a pairof Damarcus Harrison free throws.
Clemson took a four-point lead with 1:44 left on McDaniels' onlymade field goal of the half, a 15-footer. But Wake scored six of the finalseven points to pull within one at the break, 26-25, punctuated by a pair offree throws by Arnaud Adala Moto inside the final 30 seconds.
The crowd roared to life after Clemson took a 37-32 lead followinga Roper three and putback by McDaniels. The Deacs managed to stay withinstriking distance until Djambo's second three-pointer of the game gave Clemsonits largest lead at 52-45 going into the final media timeout. With Clemsonstill up six, 53-47, McDaniels drove from the left wing into the paint andskied in for a thunderous one-handed slam to bring the capacity crowd to itsfeet. From that point, Wake never got any closer than six points over the finaltwo minutes.
The Tigers start a tough road stretch next week. Five of Clemson'snext six will be on the road, starting at Pittsburgh next Tuesday. The gamewill tip at 8 p.m. from the Peterson Events Center.
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