CLEMSON, S.C. — Nick Honor drained four straight 3-pointers early in the game, Clemson led by 20 at halftime and emptied the bench in a 78-61 defeat of Syracuse on Saturday.
Ten of 11 Tigers (12-5, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) scored with Aamir Simms leading the way with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting along with 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season, seventh career. Honor added 15, all from beyond the arc, and Clyde Trapp had a career-high 11 assists with eight boards.
Joe Girard led Syracuse (10-6, 4-5) with 19 points and three steals. Alan Griffin added 12 points, making 7 of 7 at the line, and Marek Dolezaj scored 10.
Buddy Boeheim canned a 3-pointer to get the Orange on the board first but Clemson scored the next 10 points and was shooting at a 75% clip to Syracuse’s 33% after about five minutes.
It was a trend that stayed for most of the game. Clemson finished with 53% shooting and was 27 of 51 from the floor, including 10 of 23 from distance. Syracuse took more shots (60) but made just 18 field goals (30%) and scored 20 points at the free-throw line.
The Tigers were up 39-19 at the break, Syracuse’s lowest score by halftime this season on just 12% shooting, making 3 of 25. The Orange scored 12 of those 19 points at the line.
It was the fourth time this season Clemson held an opponent to fewer than 20 points at halftime.
Clemson put together runs of 15-2 and 10-1 during the opening period, and closed the first half on a crushing 12-4 pace — with Simms scoring the first eight — as Syracuse made just one of its last eight shots.
Syracuse’s offense jumped by orders of magnitude, shooting 43% after halftime with just three turnovers, but the Orange were unable to gain much ground. Clemson, even reaching deep into its bench, shot 58% in the second half.
Syracuse senior Boua Sidibe worked his way back from knee surgery and played for the first time since Nov. 27. The 6-foot-10 senior from Mali suffered a torn meniscus during the season opener against Bryant. He played 11 minutes, scoring one point and blocking a shot.
Next, Syracuse travels to Raleigh for a rematch with North Carolina State. The Orange clipped the Wolfpack 76-73 in Syracuse on Jan. 31. Clemson plays host to Georgia Tech on Friday, capping a three-game homestand.