CHARLESTON, S.C. — Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg was tired of seeing the worn-out banners, plaques, and trophies from when he was a star point guard and the Minutemen went to the NCAA Tournament each year.
Kellogg hopes UMass's Charleston Classic title starts a winning run even better than his time on campus.
‘‘It’s tiresome looking at the wall and not seeing any new ones other than when I played,’’ said Kellogg, who played from 1992-95 and made the Elite Eight his senior season. ‘‘I want to throw them in the garbage and start up our trophies as coach and team. So that feels great.’’
Cady Lalanne had 20 points and 12 rebounds as UMass held off a Clemson rally to win the eight-team event with a 62-56 victory Sunday night.
Kellogg is ready for more big things ahead, like the chance at the school’s first national ranking since the 1998-99 season.
‘‘That’s a long time, man, as an alum and a guy who played there, that’s tough to see,’’ Kellogg said. ‘‘It’s a long time coming and these guys deserve it.’’
The Minutemen (6-0) continued their best start since the 2010-11 team opened 7-0. Not that it came easy as the Tigers (5-1) cut a 14-point lead to 59-56 on Rod Hall’s basket with 56.4 seconds left.
Clemson’s defense forced Chaz Williams into a wild shot the next time down the court, but Raphiael Putney was waiting to put it back for a 61-56 lead. The Tigers’ final best chance ended when 6-foot-10-inch Ibrahim Djambo was off the mark on a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to go.
Lalanne, the tournament MVP, was a big reason for the Minutemen’s success. He had 15 points and nine rebounds in the opening-game victory over Nebraska, had 10 points and 14 boards to hold off No. 19 New Mexico, 81-65, on Friday to reach the championship game.
UMass figured to have its hands full with Clemson star K.J. McDaniels, but Lalanne’s defense in the lane — he had four of his team’s six blocks — kept the Tigers off balance throughout.
‘‘Their big kid was a good player, maybe a little better than I thought,’’ said Clemson coach Brad Brownell.
Derrick Gordon had 10 points, the only other player in double figures for the Minutemen. Rod Hall had 16 points to lead Clemson, which played tentative until midway through the second period.
McDaniels, the Tigers’ leading scorer at nearly 19 points a game, was held to 14 on 4-of-14 shooting. McDaniels also had two bad turnovers in the last three minutes that cost Clemson the chance at cutting further into the lead.
‘‘He didn’t play one of his better games and it’s going to be hard for us to beat really good teams without K.J. McDaniels having a good night,’’ Brownell said.
The Minutemen appeared to have this one locked up, ahead 47-33 on Maxie Esho’s inside basket with 11:27 to go. That’s when Clemson reeled off a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes to get within striking distance.
The Minutemen came into the tournament with wins over Boston College and LSU. They knocked off Nebraska to open things here, then outran the tourney’s featured team, No. 19 New Mexico, in the second half for an 81-65 victory.
UMass pushed the pace again against Clemson, with Williams exploding past the Tigers defenders into the front court. Most times, Lalanne was on the other end of Williams’s passes. Lalanne had 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the opening half. Four of Lalanne’s seven first-half rebounds were on the offensive glass.
Clemson was led by McDaniels, who scored 20 or more points in four of the Tigers’ first four games. He struck for 20 in the tournament-opening win over Temple and 22 a night later, when Clemson advanced to the title game with a dominating, 85-54 win over Davidson.
But McDaniels struggled against the taller, more physical Minutemen defenders. He missed his first five shots with his lone first-half basket a tip in off Hall’s miss late in the period.
The Tigers, off to their best start since opening 16-0 in 2008-09, were trying to become the tournament’s only two-time champion. They won the inaugural event here in 2008, defeating Hofstra, TCU, and Temple in the finals as part of that long, undefeated run five years ago.
UMass broke on top with an 11-0 run for an 18-10 lead less than eight minutes into the game. Clemson drew within 23-19 and the Minutemen were off and running again, outscoring the Tigers, 11-5, the rest of the period to lead 34-24 at the break.