• 46°

NCAA Tournament: Clemson 70, UAB 52

Associated Press
DAYTON, Ohio — Jerai Grant scored a career-best 22 points and fast-starting Clemson built a double-figure lead and never backed off in beating Alabama-Birmingham 70-52 on Tuesday night in an NCAA tournament “First Four” game at the University of Dayton Arena.
In a matchup of No. 12 seeds, part of the expanded tournament’s new look, the Tigers (22-11) went on a 21-2 run in the first half and never let the big lead slip away, as they had in several recent games.
Clemson hurried out after its first NCAA tournament victory in 14 years to catch a flight to a second-round game against fifth-seeded West Virginia (20-11) on Thursday afternoon in Tampa, Fla.
Milton Jennings added 11 points and Tanner Smith and Devin Booker each had 10 for Clemson, picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jamarr Sanders had 19 and Dexter Fields 12 for UAB, regular-season champions of Conference USA.
Ahead 39-27 at the break, Clemson never let the Blazers draw closer than eight points in the second half.
UAB’s hopes wilted when, already trailing 61-42, it lost point guard Aaron Johnson.
Johnson, leading the nation in assists at 7.7 per game, was injured while trying to prevent an easy layup by Grant. After lying on the floor for several minutes, he left the court on crutches with a right leg injury. He received a round of applause from the crowd of 10,025.
Both teams were among the final four at-large teams to get into the tournament. Each had spells when they didn’t look as though they deserved berths — but UAB’s bad spell lasted a lot longer.
As if to take a slap at doubters who didn’t think they belonged in the field, the Tigers came out smoking.
Grant, who had opened the scoring, rebounded his own miss and hit the follow with 6:34 left to swell the Clemson lead to 31-11.
Meanwhile, the Blazers continually turned over the ball and when they did get off a shot, they missed the mark. They didn’t have a field goal for almost 81/2 minutes of the opening half and had more turnovers (eight) than points (seven) in the opening 10:30.
But UAB regrouped behind its 3-point shooters. Hitting 7 of 15 behind the arc for the half, it got back in the game. Fields hit two 3s and Johnson added one in a 16-4 run to cut the lead to 35-27.
Both teams played fast and loose with the ball in the opening half, the Blazers piling up most of their 12 turnovers early and Clemson giving it up 10 times later.
Grant scored 12 for the Tigers, while Fields — who was 3 of 5 on 3-pointers — had nine for UAB.
The comfortable margin throughout was a nice change of pace for the Tigers, who are just 1-6 in games decided by five or fewer points.
They led North Carolina by 14 in the first half and by seven in the final 4 minutes of regulation before falling 92-87 in overtime in their last game, a semifinal of the ACC tournament.
They also blew most of a 15-point lead against Virginia Tech with 4 minutes left in their regular-season finale but recovered for a 69-60 win.
The Tigers had the most NCAA experience, and looked like it. Clemson’s seniors were making their fourth straight trip to the big tournament, with leading scorer Demontez Stitt and Grant each playing in three games.
Clemson ran its NCAA record to 9-10. The win was its first since the 1997 team advanced to the round of 16.
The Associated Press
03/16/11 00:14

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month