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Girard helps keep Clemson’s undefeated streak alive

Toby Corriston
Joseph Girard III (11) had a major impact for the Tigers as they moved to 4-0 on the season after defeating Boise State on Sunday.

The Clemson Tigers defeated the Boise State Broncos with a commanding 85-68 victory at home on Sunday. Both teams were undefeated entering the game and were hoping to continue their winning ways. Thanks to Clemson guard Joseph Girard III and a total team effort, the Tigers were able to secure the victory and move to 4-0 on the season.

With two 3-pointers from Ian Schieffelin and Dillon Hunter, as well as a highlight-worthy slam dunk by Chase Hunter over a Boise State defender, the Tigers were able to get off to a fast start. However, Boise State was able to match the offensive play with two 3-pointers and a mid-range jump shot.

The Tigers’ defensive strategy was to stop junior forward Tyson Degenhart and senior guard Chibuzo Agbo, who each entered the game scoring 17 points per game. Degenhart was limited to just 7 points by the end of the game after early foul trouble. Agbo, on the other hand, made four of his six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points.

Although Agbo outdid his season average, the Tigers limited his scoring in the second half. He scored 15 of his points in the first half and made only one shot in the entire second half.

“We had a hard time guarding them a little bit in the first half, Agbo was making some big-time shots,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said after the game.

However, when asked about defensive adjustments made in the second half, Brownell said he was pleased with defense performance after the break

“We didn’t make any drastic adjustments — you have to arrive with the catch. They’re rising up; we even fouled (Agbo) on a three, but he’s rising up and shooting in your face. So I thought we did a better job on him,” Brownell said. “I thought we did a nice job on (Max) Rice, and then our post guys doubled occasionally, which we practiced a little bit. We just tried to mix up some looks, and I think that maybe that helped a little bit in the second half.”

After just seven minutes of play, Girard connected on three of his first five shots to start the second half. Clemson star forward PJ Hall was also able to get going for the team despite picking up early fouls in the first half, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second.

Showing no sign of slowing down and continuing to light up Littlejohn as the game progressed, Girard scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half. He ended up contributing four rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers on a 9 for 17 shooting night for the Tigers.

“He’s just a good player, he plays with his head, he plays with poise,” Brownell said of Girard. “He’s played a lot of basketball, he’s seen a lot of different things, so we have a lot of confidence in him, and I think he’s getting more and more comfortable with how we play.”

Girard had a fantastic night overall and led the team in scoring, but other players also contributed to this team’s victory. The bench and overall depth of Clemson were crucial from the beginning to the end. Twenty of the Tigers’ 41 first-half points came from the bench, led by RJ Godfrey, who finished with 6 points, seven rebounds and a staggering four blocks.

“We got a lot of depth, got a lot of great players, and we thought we were a little bit better athletes around the floor on all five positions,” Girard said. “They’re a great team, but we thought we could take advantage of that.”

The Tigers will be back in action when they host Alcorn State at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday.

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About the Contributors
Angelo Feliberty, Senior Reporter
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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  • J

    Joey MuthNov 21, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Future ESPN analyst ️️

  • N

    NicoleNov 21, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Excellent article, Angelo!