No. 22 Bonnies feel at home vs. Clemson in Shriners semifinal

NCAA Men's Basketball

Clemson is the team playing in its home state, yet No. 22 St. Bonaventure is the one that feels as if it will have the crowd on its side when the teams face off Friday in a semifinal of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C.

The Bonnies (3-0) rallied from a halftime deficit for the second consecutive game to defeat Boise State 67-61 on Thursday. Afterward, longtime coach Mark Schmidt credited the crowd with helping the Bonnies down the stretch as they finally overtook the Broncos for good.

“We’ve got a great following,” Schmidt said. “They helped us tremendously. It felt like the Reilly Center (the Bonnies’ home arena) in Charleston.”

Clemson coach Brad Brownell, whose team routed Temple 75-48 in its first-round matchup, agreed that the Bonnies likely will have the advantage in crowd support.

“From what my assistants tell me,” he said, “it’s like a home crowd (for St. Bonaventure.)”

But he and his players are embracing the challenge.

“It’ll be a great experience,” he added. “It’ll be a challenge for our guys. It’ll be a little bit like a road game against a tremendous opponent. We’ve got to play lights out to win.”

Clemson’s Nick Honor will have plenty of motivation.

“I’ve got a little bit of history with St. Bonaventure,” said Honor, who scored a game-high 19 points and had three assists against the Owls on Thursday.

Honor played for Fordham as a freshman, and the Rams lost to the Bonnies twice that season, by seven and 21 points. He averaged 15 points in those contests.

“They kind of punched us in the mouth,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the game.

“I feel like we’ll be fine. Our coaches will prepare us well. We’ve just got to go out there and be confident.”

Clemson (4-0) will be playing its fourth game in eight days.

“I’m glad that we’ve played well the past couple of games and built up some confidence,” Brownell said. “But certainly it will be a hard challenge.”

The Tigers will seek more success from long range after hitting 11 of 21 3-point shots (52.4 percent) against the Owls. In the previous game, a rout of Bryant, Clemson 10 of 18 (55.6 percent) from beyond the arc. The Tigers are 38 of 79 (48.1 percent) from long distance on the season.

Clemson has shown good scoring balance too, with Hunter Tyson, PJ Hall, Al-Amir Dawes and Honor all averaging between 12 and 14 points per game.

The Bonnies also have four double-figure scorers: Kyle Lofton (17 points per game), Jaren Holmes (16 ppg), Jalen Adaway (13 ppg) and Dominick Welch (10 ppg). All four scored at least 10 against Boise State, led by Lofton’s 17. Holmes contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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