CLEMSON 53, MISSISSIPPI STATE 42
MELBOURNE, FL. — On a night when shots missed their mark on both sides, Clemson showed improvement in the second half and pulled away from Mississippi State, earning a spot in Thursday’s championship game of the 2020 Space Coast Challenge.
The Tigers (1-0) will face Purdue (1-0) in the title game, set for 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
Shooting just 35 percent overall, Clemson did employ a balanced attack, with 10 players getting into the scorebook. Freshman PJ Hall had 10 points, as did Al-Amir Dawes. MSU (0-1) shot just 30 percent from the field and was a woeful 8-of-27 from the free throw line.
The Tigers expanded their second half lead to 33-25 on a 3-pointer from Clyde Trapp with 16:18 remaining. At 13:49, Alex Hemenway’s shot made it 37-28, with the Bulldog then calling a timeout.
A jumper from Hemenway made it 46-30 at the 9:13 mark; Mississippi State put together a 7-0 to close to 46-37, but a jumper from Hall pushed it back to a double-digit lead, 48-37 with 3:23 remaining.
As suggested, the first half was a low-scoring journey, with Clemson going just 3-for-18 from 3-point range but still moving out to a 26-19 lead. Mississippi State had nine turnovers in the half and was just 2-of-11 from the free throw line. Hall had eight points in the first 20 minutes; Tolu Smith had seven points.
D.J. Stewart Jr. had 12 points for MSU; Smith added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs (0-1), who will play Liberty in the third place game Thursday committed 19 turnovers.