GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico (AP)—The size of No. 15 Clemson proved too much for DePaul.
Trevor Booker scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Tigers beat the Blue Demons 90-74 Friday in the San Juan Shootout.
“We didn’t have an answer for Booker,” DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said. “We physically were overpowered. I thought they absolutely manhandled us at every position.”
Booker, who went 10-of-12 from the free-throw line, was one of six players in double figures for the Tigers (10-0), who got 15 points from Cliff Hammonds and 14 from Demontez Stitt.
Clemson, who trailed by one at the break, took control by opening the second half with a 19-4 run, capped by Hammonds’ 3-pointer that put the Tigers ahead 59-45 with 14:45 left. Stitt started the run with seven consecutive points.
“Today was an example of a game where if we don’t ratchet down in the second half, we’re in trouble. So it was good to see the team respond,” Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said.
Booker, who had three blocks, also made two deflections to force DePaul turnovers during the Tigers’ run at the start of the second half.
“In the second half I stepped up with more intensity, and we played more physical as a team,” Booker said.
DePaul (2-7) answered with seven unanswered points, trimming the lead to 59-52 on a layup by Draelon Burns with 13:20 remaining. But the Blue Demons did not come any closer as the Tigers pulled away with 54 percent shooting in the second half.
“We hung in in the first half, but I thought they turned it up a little bit in the second half,” Wainwright said.
Burns led DePaul with 27 points. Karron Clarke added 14 and Dar Tucker had 13.
Clemson was outrebounded on the offensive boards in the first half and finished with only a 33-32 edge in rebounding. Purnell said the biggest adjustment at halftime was to demand more toughness.
“We simply challenged our guys to not be out-toughed,” he said.
Hammonds and Terrence Oglesby also combined for 8-of-11 shooting from behind the arc for Clemson.
“In the second, we decided to play defense the way Clemson plays defense,” Hammonds said.
After trailing 18-11, DePaul rallied for a 37-31 lead on a layup by Will Walker. A late surge by Clemson tightened the lead to 41-40 at the break.
Clemson, which beat Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on Thursday night, finishes the tournament Saturday against Mississippi.