Kissimmee, Fla., November. 17, 2016 – Christmas is still more than a month away, but the Clemson Tigers are already doing their best Scrooge impression. They simply aren’t giving much away.
The Tigers committed only eight turnovers in Thursday’s 95-78 victory over Davidson in the opening round of the Tire Pros Invitational. Clemson outscored the Wildcats 21-4 off turnovers, a 17-point advantage that equaled their margin of victory.
This has quickly become an early trend for the Tigers (2-0) this season. They also gave the ball away just eight times in their season-opening victory over Georgia, posting a nine-point advantage in points-off-turnovers in a game that they won by 10. Combined, Clemson has allowed a total of only 11 points off turnovers this season while scoring 35.
“We certainly emphasize that we want to keep our turnovers down,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “It’s something we’ve always done pretty well. I emphasize a great deal things like offensive shot selection and just taking care of the ball, valuing the ball. It’s something we talk about every day in practice. It helps that we’re a little bit older, and I hope that means we’re a little bit smarter.”
Clemson’s starting backcourt of senior Avry Holmes and junior Gabe Devoe had a combined total of only two turnovers against Davidson (1-1), while scoring 38 points and handing out seven assists. That duo combined for 25 points and three turnovers against Georgia.
“It’s definitely a point of emphasis,” Holmes said of keeping turnovers down. “Coach is always talking about needing to have shots, and if you have too many turnovers you can’t get shots up. He always talks about turnovers being key. He makes sure that the guards know what we’re going to do with the ball and we don’t make a lazy pass. We take care of the ball really well.”
Davidson, on the other hand, was in the giving spirit in the first half against Clemson. The Wildcats committed 12 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game, which was one more than they had in their entire season-opening victory over Appalachian State.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop did not hesitate in pointing to turnovers as one of the keys to the game. He opened his postgame news conference by stating that a “clear statistic that jumps right out is 21-4 points off turnovers.”
“The defense that Clemson played harassed us and forced us into being individuals instead of being a team,” McKillop said. “Credit them for that defense, because that was the catalyst for their offense. … Their quickness, their break on the ball and their length were all concerns. We can’t replicate that in practice.”