Smith leads Clemson past Wake Forest 78-58
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Tanner Smith had 20 points and five assists to help Clemson pull away for a 78-58 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Smith hit 8-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and the Tigers (12-12, 4-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Clemson, which shot 58.2 percent from the field for the game, used a 20-3 run over the first and second halves to end a challenge from the Demon Deacons (11-14, 2-9).
Even though Clemson shot 64.3 percent (18 of 28) from the field in the first half, the Demon Deacons kept it close - eight lead changes, eight ties - by hitting 15 of 15 from the free throw line.
Wake Forest last led when two free throws by Chase Fischer with 2:23 left in the first half put the Demon Deacons ahead 36-34. But Clemson closed out the half with eight unanswered points for a 42-36 halftime lead, then opened the second half with a 12-3 run to push the Tigers' lead into double digits.
Clemson pulled ahead by as many as 23 points twice in the second half, the last at 76-53 on a Devin Booker free throw with 4:25 remaining.
After trailing by seven points in the opening minutes, Wake Forest rallied to take its first lead at 11-9 on a Harris jumper with 12:03 left. Four minutes later, Harris' three-point play would kick off a 9-2 run that gave the Demon Deacons their biggest lead of the half, 26-19 with 6:10 remaining.
However, the Tigers rallied to tie the score at 26-26 on Jennings' layup with 4:55 left. Clemson then swapped the lead with Wake Forest six times over the next 2 1/2 minutes before closing out the half with the eight-point run.
Updated February 11, 2012