CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - David Skara scored 16 points and No. 22 Clemson opened a large early lead in cruising to a 71-51 victory over North Carolina Central on Friday night.
It was a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. While the Tigers reached the Sweet 16, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament champion North Carolina Central lost to Texas Southern in a First Four matchup.
Skara, a Valparaiso transfer in his second and final season with the Tigers, has reached double figures in both games as Clemson opened 2-0 for the 17th time in 18 years. He scored in double digits only once last season.
Aamir Simms had 14 points and Shelton Mitchell 11 for Clemson. The team's leading scorer last season, Marcquise Reed, was held to six points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Not that it mattered much. Clemson started the game by hitting its first eight shots against the Eagles (0-1).
Skara's jumper with 11:24 left in the first half put the Tigers up 23-11 and they were never seriously challenged the rest of the way. Clemson built the lead to 28 in the second half.
North Carolina Central, which has made three NCAA Tournament appearances over the past five years, hurt itself with 11 first-half turnovers and a pair of scoring droughts that lasted more than four minutes. The Eagles trailed 40-20 at halftime.
Raasean Davis, the Eagles' leading scorer at 15 points per game last season, was held to four points on 2-of-5 shooting in the opening period.
He finished with 14 points, and Zaccary Douglas had 12.
THE BIG PICTURE
NCCU: The Eagles will do a lot of flying the next couple of weeks with trips to Cincinnati, Bowling Green and George Mason. North Carolina Central hopes the rough opening schedule will make it ready when Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play starts.
Clemson: The Tigers came out fast and did what they needed to take control of the game. Then they mostly settled for outside shots and stingy defense to keep in front. Clemson will have to be more on target with its shooting when it goes up against Power Five competition later this month.
North Carolina Central travels to Cincinnati on Tuesday night.
Clemson finishes a three-game homestand against Sam Houston State on Wednesday night.