GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)—At times this season, Terrence Oglesby has looked like a nervous freshman pressing to knock down a 3-pointer.
On Wednesday night, it looked as if there was no way he would miss.
Oglesby hit six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points to help No. 18 Clemson beat East Carolina 82-67, keeping the Tigers undefeated before entering a two-week break for exams.
Fellow rookie Demontez Stitt had 13 points and five assists for the Tigers (8-0), who took control midway through the first half and never looked back.
Facing a spunky but ultimately overmatched opponent, Clemson used its size advantage to dominate the boards while playing solid defense and turning in a balanced offensive performance. It was a complete effort that silenced the rowdy home fans, who were eager to see an Atlantic Coast Conference school come to Minges Coliseum for the first time in nearly four decades.
Oglesby was at the forefront, knocking down seven of nine shots while shooting 6-for-7 from behind the arc—with his only miss being a halfcourt heave just before halftime. It was quite an improvement from his season averages of 8.6 points and 31 percent shooting from long range.
“College takes a little bit to get used to,” Oglesby said. “I finally got my rhythm a little bit and they just finally started to fall tonight. I’m a good shooter most of the time, but getting used to the speed of the game, I finally got going and it felt pretty good tonight.”
Oglesby scored nine points to help Clemson take a 47-29 halftime lead, then made several momentum-killing 3s to drain the life out of the Pirates (3-5).
After East Carolina had closed to within 14 midway through the half, Oglesby knocked down a 3 and then followed with another off a kickout to make it 60-39 with 12:14 left. He hit his final 3—a straightaway shot from about five steps behind the arc—to make it 67-44 with 9 1/2 minutes left.
“He knocks it down in practice,” said K.C. Rivers, who scored 10 points and was one of five players in double figures for Clemson. “We try to keep encouraging him to be smart and, when it doesn’t fall, don’t get down on yourself. Keep shooting. That’s what good shooters do.”
Said Clemson coach Oliver Purnell: “He’s a freshman—he’s going to be up and down. He has the ability to stretch defenses and either keep another team at bay or break the game open.”
Oglesby had plenty of help doing that, even though the Tigers were again playing without injured forward James Mays (hip). Cliff Hammonds scored 12 points; Rivers had seven rebounds, four assists and four steals; and Trevor Booker finished with 17 rebounds—part of a 50-26 edge on the glass that led to 20 second-chance points.
Clemson shot 47 percent for the game, including 12-for-24 from 3-point range.
It was hardly the kind of outcome East Carolina’s respect-starved fans had hoped for in the first visit from an ACC school since 1969. After all, the league—particularly powers Duke and North Carolina located about 90 miles west — has long hogged the spotlight while the Pirates have had to fight for any attention once basketball season arrives.
But Clemson’s strong play had the fans heading for the exits early. East Carolina fell to 0-57 all-time against ACC teams, and faces another one—North Carolina State—here Saturday.
“I think we learned a lot tonight,” East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy said. “Each time you play against that level of competition, you understand what works and what doesn’t work. We had some guys make plays tonight that are not going to work against that level of talent.”
Sam Hinnant scored 16 points to lead the Pirates. His third 3-pointer gave East Carolina a 16-13 lead, but the Tigers locked down and started a 17-point run to take control. Clemson pushed ahead for good with a stickback dunk and free throw from Raymond Sykes about 7 minutes in before taking the 18-point lead at the break.