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The outside shooting for Tigers guard Shawan Robinson finally came around, while the inside presence of Sharrod Ford continued to be solid. Match that with the best defensive effort of the year and Clemson ran away with an easy 74-40 victory over East Carolina Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Robinson, who had made just six of his previous 26 3-point shots, connected on 4-of-6 from the behind the arc to finish with 14 points. Ford, meanwhile, maintained his steady play as scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Defensively, the Tigers held East Carolina to a measly 21.1 percent shooting from the field. East Carolina's 3-point shooting was even worse, making just 2-of-15 shots.
Incredibly, the Pirates had only three players make a field goal.
"When you defend like that and you get good guard play, usually you win, and we got that," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "At the same time, we had and effective inside game. This is a prototype win for us. We thought before the game that if we could defend, we had a good guard play and a balance on offense, we could win and that's what we got."
Clemson improves to 9-3 as it prepares to enter its Atlantic Coast Conference opener at Duke Sunday night. The Pirates drop to 4-7.
Offensively, Clemson shot 55.6 percent from the floor and was a respectable 7-of-18 from 3-point range.
Unlike in games past, the Tigers didn't wait until midway through the first half to get their offense rolling. Right from the outset, Clemson had its offense in gear, which included that of Robinson, who nailed both of his 3-point attempts.
The fact that Robinson made the shots from the outside all game will no doubt help restore some of the confidence that he so prominently displayed during the first few games of the season.
His early shot making helped propel the Tigers to a 34-19 halftime lead.
"I was just really pleased with his floor game," Purnell said of Robinson. "He wasn't anxious and he didn't for it. He let the game come to him."
The second half saw Clemson roar to a quick 48-22 lead with 15:45 left to play, but the Pirates fought back and pulled within 16 at 50-34 with 11:55 to go.
The Tigers, however, went on another run, highlighted by a Vernon Hamilton pass off the backboard to a charging Olu Babalola, who caught the ball in mid air and slammed it home with two hands.
The game was essentially over at that point.
"I think one of our golas was to come out and jump on them from the get-go," Ford said. "We played hard for a full 40 minutes. One of our goals was to shut everybody down."
"We got thoroughly outplayed tonight," East Carolina coach Bill Herrion said. "Clemson came out early and their message was, ‘We're going to physically annihilate you.' "
Clemson's next game is 8 p.m., Sunday at Duke, which will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
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