CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — K.J. McDaniels had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks to help Clemson overcome a 12-point deficit and defeat Temple 72-58 to finish the opening round of the Charleston Classic on Thursday night.
Rod Hall had 13 points, including two three-point plays, to help the Tigers (4-0) build a 62-55 lead with 3:53 to go. Sophomore center Landry Nnoko had career highs with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Clemson will next meet Davidson on Friday with the winner ending up in Sunday night’s championship. Temple (1-3) will take on Georgia, which lost to the Wildcats earlier Thursday.
Will Cummings led Temple with 20 points and Quenton DeCosey had 15, just three of those in the second half as Clemson took control with a 16-5 run to lead 67-56 in the final three minutes.
The Owls led 32-20 in the opening half, but Clemson closed the period with an 11-2 run.
The eight-team tournament is held at College of Charleston’s TD Arena and while the Cougars weren’t competing, Clemson fans from the area filled the place and made it sound like Littlejohn Coliseum east.
The fan support helped down the stretch as Clemson pulled out a back-and-forth contest over the final five minutes.
Temple came in off two straight losses to Kent State and Towson after opening the season with a victory over Philadelphia rival Penn.
Clemson had opened 3-0 for first time since the 2010-11 season and just the second time in coach Brad Brownell’s four seasons. And the Tigers were coming off a solid, 71-57 win over rival South Carolina this past Sunday.
Clemson broke on top quickly, going up 12-7 behind Jordan Roper’s layup and 3-pointer. The Tigers were still ahead 14-11 when Temple took off on a 21-6 run over a nine-minute stretch of the opening period that was led by sophomore Quenton DeCosey.
DeCosey had all 12 of his first-half points in the surge, as he continually drove past Clemson’s defense on the way to the basket.
DeCosey closed the run with a pair of foul shots to put the Owls ahead 32-20 with 3:39 remaining in the half.
That’s when Clemson answered back and finished the period on an 11-2 run to cut Temple’s lead to 34-31 at the break.
McDaniels had five points and Hall had four, including a driving basket through three Temple defenders with a second to go.
The Tigers and Owls met in the Charleston Classic’s first-ever title game in 2008, with Clemson giving up most of a 14-point cushion before holding off Temple for a 76-72 victory.
Former Clemson star Trevor Booker, now with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, was tournament MVP.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)