CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Marcquise Reed scored 26 points to reach 20 for a second straight game since returning from a knee injury and Clemson won for the fourth straight time to close nonconference play with an 84-67 victory over Lipscomb on Sunday.
The Tigers (10-3) opened a 20-point lead in the opening half and held off pesky Lipscomb (9-4), which was looking to beat a second Power Five conference opponent this year after toppling TCU of the Big 12 last month.
But the Bisons couldn’t handle the outside shooting of Reed or strength of forwards Elijah Thomas and David Skara around the basket. Thomas finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Skara had 17 points, including three 3-point plays.
Things ramp up significantly for the Tigers, who open Atlantic Coast Conference play at top-ranked Duke on Saturday.
Lipscomb (9-4) opened the second half with a 16-4 run to cut Clemson’s 21-point lead to 52-43 with more than 14 minutes left. But the Tigers answered with 10 straight points to regain momentum.
Lipscomb made the NCAA Tournament a year ago as Atlantic Sun Conference tournament champions and has gained a reputation for throwing scares into Power Five opponents. The Bisons won at Missouri two years ago, lost 72-68 at Louisville three games ago and, just last month, defeated their first Top 25 opponent by knocking off then-18th-ranked TCU, 73-64, at the Horned Frogs home.
They could not keep this one close for long as the more experienced Atlantic Coast Conference opponent used its speed, size and ability to take control with a 24-12 surge midway through the opening half.
Shelton Mitchell’s jumper started the run as the Tigers’ defense went to work. John Newman III stole the ball from Garrison Mathews for a high-flying jam. Skara picked Mathews on the next possession leading to a 3-point play for Clemson.
Skara added another 3-point play next time down after stealing the ball off Matt Rose to extend the Tigers’ lead to double digits.
Lipscomb could not answer.
The Bison, averaging just more than 12 turnovers a game this season, had 16 in the opening half off 10 steals by Clemson.
Lipscomb: The Bison struggled to contain Clemson forward Elijah Thomas down low. Chances are they won’t see too many, 6-foot-9, 245-pound players as strong and determined as Thomas down low in Atlantic Sun play the next three months.
Clemson: The Tigers will need to shore up things for the ACC, particularly on ball handling after 18 turnovers against Lipscomb. It’s the third straight game they’ve had at least that many.
Lipscomb: The Bisons open Atlantic Sun Conference play at Jacksonville on Saturday.
Clemson: The Tigers start Atlantic Coast Conference play at Duke on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25