CLEMSON, South Carolina — Devin Coleman made the most of his first career start Tuesday night, and Clemson was better for it.
The sophomore guard scored a career-high 16 points, and Clemson overcame early sluggishness for a 65-49 win over South Carolina State at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson improved to 7-1, while South Carolina State fell to 2-6. Sophomore forward Landry Nnoko had his second career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. S.C. State was led by junior guard Devin Joint's nine points.
The Tigers travel to Arkansas Saturday, while S.C. State hosts Georgia Southern.
Clemson fought through some early offensive struggles to take a 34-31 halftime lead on junior guard Rod Hall's 3-point play with 44 seconds left. The Tigers trailed 20-11 with 8:39 to play and got no production from leading scorer K.J. McDaniels.
But they finished the half on a 23-11 run, with nine points coming from Coleman.
Clemson started the second half on a 13-6 run to push the lead to double figures and kept it there the rest of the way.
Clemson built on its lead after halftime, using improved defense and solid post play from sophomore forwards Nnoko and Josh Smith. When the Bulldogs called for a timeout with 15:02 left, the Tigers led 44-37, with Nnoko scoring five of his team's 10 points.
McDaniels' first points of the game - a 3-pointer from the left wing - gave Clemson its first double-digit lead of the game, at 47-37.
Six consecutive points from Smith and Nnoko extended the lead to 53-41 with 7:59 to play.
After shooting 45.2 percent in the first half, South Carolina State made only five of its first 21 shots from the field after halftime, a 23.8 percent clip. The Bulldogs finished with just seven field goals for the second half, shooting 23.3 percent for the half and 34 percent for the game.
The Tigers survived despite an off night from McDaniels, their leading scorer. The junior forward entered averaging 18.6 points per game and had scored at least 20 in five of Clemson's seven games. But he never got on track Tuesday, finishing with seven points on 3-of-10 shooting, adding seven rebounds.
Coleman enjoyed his third consecutive double-figure scoring night. After failing to score in Clemson's first five games, he has become an important part of the Tigers' guard rotation, scoring 10, 14 and 16 points in Clemson's last three outings.