MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — PJ Hall had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds to help Clemson open the season with a 53-42 win over Mississippi State in the Space Coast Challenge on Wednesday night.
The tournament, originally planned as the Cancun Challenge, was hosted by Eastern Florida State College.
Al-Amir Dawes added 10 points for the Tigers, who pulled away with a 13-2 run to lead 46-30 with 9:13 left in the game. Nick Honor had five points and Alex Hemenway added four during the burst. The Bulldogs twice closed the deficit to nine but got no closer.
D.J. Stewart Jr. and Tolu Smith led Mississippi State with 12 points each. Smith also grabbed 10 boards.
Clemson’s Aamir Simms, who was named to the All-ACC Preseason First-Team, fouled out after playing only eight minutes. He finished with four points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Clemson will face Purdue in the championship and Mississippi State will take on Liberty in the consolation game on Thursday night.