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Clemson holds off Robert Morris 64-57

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Marcquise Reed had 21 points and Robert Morros gave Clemson a run for their money before falling to the Tigers 64-57 on Tuesday.

CLEMSON, SC – Clemson opened the second half on an 18-4 run to grab an 18-point advantage and held on for a 64-57 victory over Robert Morris Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Colonials dipped to 4-8 overall in wrapping up their 2014-15 non-conference schedule, while the Tigers improved to 8-4.

Nursing a four-point lead at halftime, 30-26, Clemson rode the shooting of Damarcus Harrison to break open a tight game early in the second half. Harrison hit back-to-back 3-pointers and buried another triple during the surge as the Tigers grabbed their biggest lead of the game, 48-30, with 13:55 remaining.

The lead remained in double digits for Clemson until freshman guard Marcquise Reed, who led all scorers in the contest with 21 points, converted a layup with 7:03 to play that pulled the Colonials within 51-42. The layup for Reed was part of his own six-point run, as his jumper at the 5:13 mark of the second half pulled RMU to within 54-46.

The Tigers quickly called timeout, and out of the break Jaron Blossomgame came through with a dunk to get the cushion back to double digits for Clemson, 56-46. Sophomore guard Kavon Stewart answered with a running jumper to again pull the Colonials within eight, 56-48, and Robert Morris twice had opportunities under the five-minute mark to cut into its deficit but came up short both times.

Reed converted a layup with 1:33 left that made it 57-51 in favor of the Tigers, but Clemson sealed the victory at the free-throw line.

"It was a tough shooting night against a good defensive team," head coach Andrew Toole said. "We didn't start the second half with the urgency you need, but we still battled back and didn't fold up shop. There are a lot of positives, though, that we can take from this game and use as teaching tools as we move forward and get ready for Northeast Conference play."

A tightly contested first half in which neither team owned a lead of more than four points, RMU owned a 20-16 advantage at the 7:07 mark of the first half thanks to a jumper from senior forward Lucky Jones. Clemson battled back to grab a 23-20 advantage thanks to five consecutive points from Jordan Roper, but Reed knotted the game, 23-23, thanks to a 3-pointer with 4:16 left before intermission.

Landry Nnoko would push the Tigers back on top, 25-23, with a tip-in before Reed again connected from beyond the arc to give the Colonials their last lead, 26-25, with 2:12 remaining before the break.

Reed finished 9-for-14 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-5 from deep, and 1-for-2 at the free-throw line in garnering game-high honors in scoring. He also posted four rebounds and a game-high three steals. Jones also reached double figures for Robert Morris with 13 points.

Blossomgame recorded a double-double to pace Clemson, finishing with 16 points and 12 caroms. He was joined in double figures by Donte Grantham, who finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Rod Hall contributed 11 points.

The Colonials return home to open Northeast Conference play, welcoming Mount St. Mary's to the Charles L. Sewall Center Saturday, Jan. 3, for a 4:00 p.m. tip.

 

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