Tigers cruise past Furman

CLEMSON - Clemson used a 17-0 first-half run and a big game from sophomore guard Jordan Roper to roll over Furman 71-35 on Saturday night.

Box Score: Clemson 71 Furman 53

Roper scored a season-high 16 points and Clemson improved to 8-2 on the season, while Furman fell to 4-6. The Paladins shot just 30.2 percent from the field and their 35 points was the lowest by an opponent in coach Brad Brownell's four-year tenure at Clemson.

Devin Coleman and K.J. McDaniels each scored 12 points for Clemson. Kendrec Ferrara led Furman with 10 points.

Clemson travels to Auburn on Thursday, while Furman plays host to Liberty on Friday.

Clemson rolled into halftime with a 38-19 lead. The Tigers led 21-17 with 6:51 left, but finished the half on a 17-2 run sparked by Roper. With Clemson up 26-17, Roper nailed back-to-back 3-pointers and added a driving layup, scoring eight consecutive points for a 34-17 edge.

The Tigers won their 30th consecutive game over Furman in a series that dates to the 1978-79 season. The Paladins are struggling under first-year coach Niko Medved and entered Saturday's game coming off a 97-93 home loss to Division II Mars Hill.

As usual, defense served as a foundation for Clemson's success. The Tigers came into the game tops nationally in scoring defense, allowing 53.6 points per game, and tops in field-goal percentage, yielding 35 percent. But with just over eight minutes left in the half, the Paladins were shooting 50 percent from the field and trailed only 21-17.

They missed their next eight shots and committed three turnovers. Only Stephen Croone's layup with 1 second left in the half broke the drought.

Clemson extended its lead after halftime. A pair of dunks by McDaniels -- the first a one-hand alley-oop slam, the second a windmill slam off an open-court steal -- pushed the margin to 63-28 with 7:12 to play.

Furman shot just 23.8 percent for the second half and 30.2 percent for the game. Clemson finished the game shooting 50 percent and 50 percent in the second half.

The Tigers also owned a sizable edge in rebounds (37-23) and points in the paint (36-18).

Roper broke out of a shooting slump that began after he suffered a concussion against UMass in the Charleston Classic finale on Nov. 24. He missed a game against Coastal Carolina and hit just two of his next nine shots against South Carolina State and Arkansas.

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