Clemson made its first six three point shots in bolting to a 20-4 lead on the way to a runaway victory over UTEP, 69-48, on Friday in the Old Spice Classic.
The Tigers (3-1), who hit a combined 15 three-pointers in their first three games of the season, were 10-for-12 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 12-for-16 on the night.
UTEP (1-3) never really threatened the Tigers. The Miners fell behind 12-1 early, faced a 20-point deficit (38-18) with a little over three minutes to go in the period, then scored the final eight points of the half to pull within 12 (38-26) at the break – but that was as close as they would get.
In their first four games this season the Miners have fallen behind 5-0 to Oral Roberts and Arizona, 15-0 to Oklahoma and 12-1 to Clemson.
“Obviously we didn’t come out of the locker room very good tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “Defensively, I’m really disappointed with the fact that we gave up 10 threes in a half. This means, to me, that if you can’t guard the three-point line you can’t guard. We’ve got work to do in that area.”
The Miners didn’t enjoy much success offensively either. They shot 37 percent from the field and made a little more than half of their free throws (11-of-21). UTEP has scored less than 70 points in four straight games to open a season for the first time in 27 years.
“People will point towards the 48 [points]. We obviously have work to do in that area as well,” Floyd said.
“We’re still trying to find lineups that work. We’re still making too many mistakes. We’re getting exposed a little bit right now for who we are. But we’re going to continue to work.”
John Bohannon led UTEP with 15 points, hitting 7-of-11 shots. The rest of the Miners were a combined 10-for-35 from the field.
The news wasn’t entirely bad for UTEP.
“I thought we got some quality minutes out of [freshmen] Twymond Howard and Hooper Vint,” Floyd said. “Other than that, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Milton Jennings led Clemson with 18 points. K.J. McDaniels added 17. Both hit four three-pointers. They were a combined 8-for-9 from long range.
“They are a very good defensive club. Give them credit,” Floyd said. “But 10-of-12 from the three-point line is unacceptable, and we dug ourselves a hell of a hole as a result of it.”
UTEP will conclude the tournament by facing Vanderbilt on Sunday at noon MT/2 p.m. ET. The game can be viewed on espn3.com.