Grantham's 19 lead Clemson to 90-47 win
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Donte Grantham knows too well Clemson's bad reputation for early season stumbles. He's glad he and his teammates are getting the chance to quash that with their strong play.
The Tigers (6-2) did it again Saturday, blowing past Mercer 90-47 to win their fourth straight and second in a row by 40 points or more.
Grantham scored 19 points off four 3-pointers.
''We just wanted to come out here and make a statement that we're a good team,'' said Grantham, the 6-foot-8 junior. ''We believe that, but we have to showcase that.''
It was fully on display against the Bears (5-5), who have lost four of five since opening 4-1.
Grantham had two 3-pointers and a 3-point play as the Tigers led 18-11. He closed the first half with a 3 that put Clemson ahead 49-25 and Mercer could not dent the lead.
The Bears settled for too many outside shots - 14 of 23 first-half attempts were from behind the arc - instead of going strong against Clemson's defense, Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said.
''You can't win that way and that's not how we're going to win,'' he said.
Jaron Blossomgame had 16 points as the Tigers had five players finish in double figures. Grantham also added six rebounds, two assists and block and a steal.
It's the first time Clemson has won consecutive games by at least 40 points since the start of the 2009-10 season when it beat Presbyterian by 43 points and Liberty by 40 next time out.
Ria'n Holland had 12 points to lead the Bears, who have lost four of their past five games after opening 4-1.
Mercer: The Bears saw their run of ACC wins end at three, losing to an ACC opponent for the first time since an 87-78 defeat to Georgia Tech in the 2010-11 season. Mercer made a huge splash in their previous ACC matchup, topping third-seeded Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Then again, no members of that team remain with the program. Holland, the Bears' top scorer, is in his first season at Mercer after two seasons at Wichita State and a year at Indian Hills Community College.
Clemson: The Tigers took care of another typically troublesome early season opponent in fast fashion, a strong sign for what they might achieve. Clemson hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since coach Brad Brownell's first season in 2010-11, a huge reason because of pre-ACC season losses. The Tigers won 10 ACC games last season, yet only seven against nonleague opponents as they missed the postseason.
''We needed to play well during this time and we have so far,'' Brownell said.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson's try for the Heisman Trophy later Saturday came up several times during the basketball game. Watson's image flashed on the big scoreboard screen several times and Grantham said he'd be watching and rooting for his fellow Tiger.
''He should get it if they're giving it to winners,'' Clemson coach Brad Brownell said.
Mercer struggled driving the ball against Clemson, ending with just seven foul shots. The Bears committed 18 turnovers and were called for 25 fouls.
Clemson is getting closer to adding Texas A&M transfer, 6-foot-9 Elijah Thomas, to the lineup. Brownell said Thomas, who sat out since last winter, would be eligible to play for the Tigers at Alabama on Dec. 18. He'll be a boost to a front line with only 6-10 starter Sidy Djitte and backup, 7-footer Legend Robertin available.
Mercer: Gets a week off before playing at Auburn on Dec. 18.
Clemson: Will face South Carolina State on Tuesday night.
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|Min. Per Game|
|Pts. Per Game|
|Ast. Per Game|
|Reb. Per Game|
|Field Goal %|
|Three Point %|
|Free Throw %|
|Field Goals||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|
|3-Pointers||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|
|Free Throws||0-0 (0.0%)||0-0 (0.0%)|