Chris Hobbs led the way in the with 10 first half points as he dominated the Nittany Lions with his physical presence in the paint.
Despite Hobbs' performance, Penn State led 44-34 at halftime, marking the second straight game that the Tigers trailed by double digits.
The 2nd half was a totally different story, as the Tigers opened on fire, hitting 8 of their first 12 shots. The intensity level also picked up on the defensive end as the Tigers held Penn State to only 2 of 8 from the floor over the first 5 minutes out of the locker room.
Dwon Clifton started the rally with a 3-point basket, and then Chris Hobbs grabbed an offensive rebound and hit Edward Scott with a great pass just above the free throw line for 10-foot jumper to cut the lead to 50-47.
Penn State responded by getting into early foul trouble, as Clemson entered the bonus with 14 minutes left in the half.
After two unforced turnovers and a missed basket with about 10 minutes remaining, the Tigers finally took advantage with two quick baskets, and three free throws for an 8-point lead.
Leading the way was Chey Christie, who scored 6 of those points on slashing plays to the basket.
The Tigers then closed the deal by playing good defense down the stretch and driving to the basket to get to the free throw line for easy points. Sharrod Ford and Chey Christie played brilliant defense and showed a ton of athleticism in taking on multiple Penn State defenders and either converting for the deuce or drawing the foul.
The Tigers' next game will be Friday night against Coastal Carolina at 7:00 PM in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers missed a chance to pull ahead even earlier in the 2nd half by making only 7 of their first 13 free throw attempts and committing 7 turnovers in 9 possessions after bolting out to a 3 point lead with 12 minutes left to play.
The Tigers spent most of the second half playing 3 true freshmen- Olu Babalola, Chey Christie, and Sharrod Ford.
True freshman Olu Babalola, showing good ball handling and passing skills, played excellent defense as he played a key role in rallying the Tigers in the 2nd half.
Freshmen Sharrod Ford and Chey Christie also showed a lot of aggressiveness and confidence in taking the ball to the basket. Christie scored a career high 16 points and Ford registered his season high of 10.
Also, the Lady Tigers beat the #25 Lady Gamecocks 71-63. Clemson dominated most of the game as the Lady Tigers beat South Carolina for the 7th straight time.
Quotes from Larry Shyatt:
On Chey Christie:
"He's just an acrobatic scorer, he's skinny as a weed, but he's had to grow up on the road, but I'm happy for him," said Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt about Christie.
On Sharrod Ford:
"Sharrod Ford actually had two more put backs that they disallowed, he a couple of serious dunks coming but they disallowed it. We've got to get some more pounds on him and Chey and we'll be alright."
On Penn State's hot shooting first half:
"We got their 'A' game in the first half, but we battled back. I knew we were in for a long night if they continued shooting that well. At halftime I just told them that we were going to comeback. There was no big change we just needed some stops and Chey Christie and Ed Scott blistered those guys on defense in the second half."
"Our guys are young and aggressive but they are going to be pretty good. I'm very pleased with coming back (in the game) and coming back on the road. Lets hope with a little bit of rehab in the next 4 hours we can be a deeper team Friday night against Coastal Carolina."
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL --- --- ----- CLEMSON 34 45 79 PENN ST 44 22 66 FINAL HIGH SCORERS: CLEMSON - CHRIS HOBBS 17 PENN ST - JAMAAL TATE 18