Clemson downs Auburn in Record setting Fashion
San Diego, Calif.—Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas added 18 points and 11 rebounds as No. 5 seed Clemson defeated No. 4 seed Auburn in dominating fashion, 84-53 Sunday afternoon at Viejas Arena in San Diego, Calif.
The victory sends Clemson to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. The 31-point victory margin was the largest for Clemson in an NCAA Tournament game and the largest for the Tigers in any game vs. a top 25 team. Auburn was ranked 19th in the AP poll entering the tournament.
“I told the team before we started here that we had just played 20 games against teams in a great league,” said Clemson Coach Brad Brownell. “I thought we were prepared for anything based on what we had done.
“The team was bouncing off the ceiling to play before the first game (against New Mexico State), but today there was a calm about them in the locker room. We were focused from the beginning and after we made some corrections in defensive rebounding we were in good shape.”
The previous record for victory margin by the Tigers against a top 20 team was 27 in a 74-47 win over Duke on February 4, 2009.
DeVoe scored 22 points in each of the two games in San Diego and now has eight games of at least 20 points this year, including seven in his last 14. He is the first Clemson player to have consecutive 20-point games in the same NCAA Tournament since Elden Campbell in 1989.
DeVoe made 6-9 three-point shots, a record for made threes by a Clemson player in an NCAA Tournament game.
Thomas made 7-10 shots from the field on the way to his 18-point night. It was his ninth double-double of the season. Marcquise Reeded at 16 points and seven rebounds, while Shelton Mitchell added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The Tigers dominated the game in every fashion, as they won the rebounding 50-32, had 19 assists against just seven turnovers offensively, and allowed Auburn 25.6 percent shooting from the field, including 22 percent on three-point shots.
The two teams played on even terms early. The game was tied three times within the first eight minutes, including 13-13 at the 12:39 mar. With the score 18-15 in favor of Clemson, the Tigers went on a 17-0 run over the next 7:48 to take a 35-15 lead. Clemson grew the margin to 43-19 at halftime. The 24-point lead was Clemson’s largest in history in an NCAA Tournament game.
The Tigers then put the game away in the first 3:34 of the second half by outscoring Auburn 13-5 to take a 32 point lead at 56-24. Clemson’s largest lead was 41 points, a margin it first realized at the 11:33 mark with a 70-29 advantage. Auburn cut the margin to 29 points at the 4:17 mark (77-48), but that was as close as the SEC Tigers could get.
Clemson will face Kansas in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday, March 23. It will be the first meeting between the two teams.