Valiant Clemson Effort Falls Short as No. 16/17 Gonzaga Prevails in Old Spice Classic, 57-49

Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels dunks the ball over Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk and Kevin Pangos during the first half Thursday night at the Old Spice Classic in Kissimmee, Florida.

Clemson gave No. 16/17 Gonzaga all it could handle for most of 40 minutes on Thursday in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic, but the Zags shot 69 percent in the second half to pull away to a 57-49 victory over the Tigers. Gonzaga improved to 4-0 with the win, and advance to play Oklahoma in the winners’ bracket. The Tigers lost their first game of the season and now move on to take on UTEP for a second straight season in an exempt tournament. The game will be held at 5:30 PM Friday and will be televised by ESPNU. UTEP beat the Tigers 61-48 in Hawaii last Christmas.  Clemson held Gonzaga to just 57 total points, 37 below its average coming into the game. The Tigers struggled offensively, shooting just 31 percent for the contest. The Tigers were only 27 percent from three-point range, a 6-for-22 clip. Gonzaga ended up shooting 49 percent after struggling to find the basket in the opening half. The Zags committed 13 turnovers, compared to Clemson’s eight. The Tigers have won the turnover margin all three games this season.