Clemson opened the season with two victories over Power 5 conference teams in winning the Space Coast Challenge in Melbourne, Fla., during Thanksgiving week.

The Tigers, who are trying to begin the season 3-0 for the third time in four years, hope to avoid a letdown in their home opener against in-state rival South Carolina State on Wednesday.

Aamir Simms, a versatile 6-8 senior, scored 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the 81-70 victory over Purdue in the title game on Thanksgiving night to secure tournament MVP honors.

"We knew (defenders) were going to go at him and try to get him in foul trouble, so we used Aamir's ability to play away from the basket," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "He posted some, but we moved him around a lot, and he was really efficient. He made different types of shots."

Simms, a preseason All-ACC first team selection, got help from Fordham transfer Nick Honor, who added 17 points and four 3-pointers as the Tigers shot 49.2 percent from the floor. Honor averaged 15.3 points and hit 70 treys in 2018-19 at Fordham.

"This was a good win. Obviously, I'm really happy for our players. With all they've been through, starting with the end of last season and all that's transpired in our country since then," Brownell said.

That win followed an opening-round 53-42 triumph over Mississippi State, in which the Tigers held the Rebels to 30 percent shooting.

South Carolina State (0-2) has dropped its first two games, 81-61 to Appalachian State on Nov. 25, and 101-78 at Bowling Green on Saturday.

The Bulldogs, who have had just one winning season in the last 10 years, rank 355th out of 357 Division I teams in defensive efficiency and 351st in offensive efficiency, based on Ken Pom ratings.

Four freshmen have started games, but the team's leading scorer averages 10 points per game off the bench, freshman Floyd Rideau.

"We have a couple guys returning, but for the most part, it'll be a brand-new looking team with junior college guys, a couple of prep school guys," eighth-year head coach Murray Garvin has said. "It's like going to the grocery store and getting new groceries. I really, really like our chances going forward" in the (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Clemson has won 13 of the 14 meetings in the series, all at home, and has won eight straight.

--Field Level Media

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