CHARLESTON, S.C. — Clemson coach Brad Brownell had a message for the orange-clad Tiger fans who filled TD Arena on Thursday: Stick around one more night.
Brownell knows many of those screaming for Clemson in its 72-58 win over Temple at the Charleston Classic will surely make the pilgrimage west to Death Valley where the Tigers close their home football season against The Citadel.
"It would help if Dabo will tell those people, 'Hey, don't leave until Saturday morning," Brownell said of Clemson's football coach Dabo Swinney. "Maybe I'll text him tonight to say, 'We want you here, but help coach Brownell Friday night.'"
Clemson's done a good job helping itself this season. While it's early in the season, the Tigers used a pair of late runs in the first and second half to start 4-0 for the first time in four seasons and just the second time in Brownell's four seasons.
"We needed to go out there and not give up on each other," said K.J. McDaniels, who reached 20 points for the third time this season.
McDaniels had eight rebounds and seven blocks. 6-foot-10 center Landry Nnoko had career highs with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Jordan Roper scored 14 points and former Laney standout Rod Hall had 13, including a pair of three-point plays as the Tigers closed the game with 16-3 run.
"This group likes each other. We work hard every day in practice," Brownell said. "We have a lot of holes on our team, some breakdowns that were exposed. But togetherness means a lot and it's a big part of being successful. Right now, we feel good about our team."
Clemson moves on to play Davidson on Friday night for a spot in Sunday's championship. The Owls (1-3) have lost three in a row and will try and break that streak against Georgia on Friday.
Will Cummings led Temple with 20 points and Quenton DeCosey had 15, just three of those in the second half as Clemson took control.
The Owls led 32-20 in the opening half, but Clemson closed the period with an 11-2 run to trail 34-31 at the break.
"They started having an effect on our shooting and altered shots at the rim," Cummings said.
The eight-team tournament is held at College of Charleston's TD Arena and while the Cougars weren't competing, Clemson fans from the area filled the place and made it sound like Littlejohn Coliseum east. The fan support helped down the stretch as Clemson pulled out a back-and-forth contest over the final five minutes.
"They turned up the heat defensively and I don't think we handled it well," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
Temple came in off two consecutive losses to Kent State and Towson after opening the season with a victory over Philadelphia rival Penn.
Clemson had opened 3-0 for first time since the 2010-11 season and just the second time in coach Brad Brownell's four seasons. And the Tigers were coming off a solid, 71-57 win over rival South Carolina this past Sunday.
Clemson broke on top quickly, going up 12-7 behind Jordan Roper's layup and 3-pointer. The Tigers were still ahead 14-11 when
Temple took off on a 21-6 run over a nine-minute stretch of the opening period that was led by sophomore Quenton DeCosey.
DeCosey had all 12 of his first-half points in the surge, as he continually drove past Clemson's defense on the way to the basket.
DeCosey closed the run with a pair of foul shots to put the Owls ahead 32-20 with 3:39 remaining in the half.
That's when Clemson answered back and finished the period on an 11-2 run to cut Temple's lead to 34-31 at the break.
McDaniels had five points and Hall had four, including a driving basket through three Temple defenders with a second to go.
The Tigers and Owls met in the Charleston Classic's first-ever title game in 2008, with Clemson giving up most of a 14-point cushion before holding off Temple for a 76-72 victory.
Former Clemson star Trevor Booker, now with the NBA's Washington Wizards, was tournament MVP.