ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—For Demontez Stitt, sharing is the key to Clemson’s success.
Tanner Smith scored 17 points and Stitt had 16 points and five assists to lead No. 19 Clemson to an 87-79 victory over Long Beach State in the 76 Classic on Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Andre Young added 13 points and Trevor Booker had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers (5-1), who shot 57.6 percent and scored 20 points off turnovers.
“If we spread the floor, play as one and move the ball from side to side, teams can’t focus on one player,” said Stitt, one of six Tigers who scored in double figures.
T.J. Robinson scored a career-high 25 points and tied a career high with 15 rebounds for the 49ers (3-3), who have lost three of four.
Long Beach’s Casper Ware had 20 points and tied a tournament single-game record with 10 assists. Eugene Phelps added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“I really thought that Casper, T.J. and Gene were some of the best athletes on the floor,” 49ers coach Dan Monson said. “But we just didn’t have enough help for them.”
Clemson led 30-29 when David Potter scored three lay-ins in 52 seconds to put the Tigers ahead 36-29 with 1:49 left in the first half. Clemson then began the second half with a 7-0 spurt in the first 41 seconds to build a 45-34 lead.
“The defense got us the lead with our pressure,” Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. “Offensively, we got a bunch of shots going to the basket, and we took our jump shots off of that. We really attacked in the lane.”
Long Beach narrowed its deficit to 61-60 with 8:55 to play. But a 6-0 run in a span of 1:06 extended the Tigers’ advantage to 67-60 with 7:33 remaining.
“They came in waves,” Monson said. “We got to 61-60 and it seemed like we got fatigued. Our bench isn’t deep enough and experienced enough.”