Jerai Grant scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Clemson made easy work of UAB, 70-52, in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena.
The “First Four” game was between the last two at-large programs selected in the now 68-field tourney, but the affair was completely one-sided.
The Tigers won their first NCAA Tournament game since 1997 by making 51 percent from the field and forcing 19 turnovers to win going away and earn a No. 12 seed in the East Regional, where they will play fifth-seeded West Virginia on Thursday in Tampa.
Milton Jennings netted 11 points, while Tanner Smith and Devin Booker each added 10 for Clemson (22-11), which narrowly made the field after finishing tied for fourth in a mediocre Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jamarr Sanders led UAB with 19 points, as the Blazers (22-9) did little to silence critics of their tournament-worthy resume out of the unheralded Conference USA.