Clemson Upsets Maryland Again

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sharrod Ford scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds Tuesday, leading Clemson to its second upset of the University of Maryland in less than a month, 97-93.

This time the win came in College Park, just the Tigers' second conference road win of the season. It also came at a most opportune time for the team's postseason aspirations.

At 13-13 (3-10 ACC), Clemson can become eligible for the NIT by winning two of its final three regular season games. The Tigers have games with Florida State and Virginia Tech at home, and a final road game at Georgia Tech.

"It was an outstanding win for our team," said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell. "I look at it as another step in the maturation process of our young group. In a lot of ways it was a carbon copy of the first game we played against them. "

Tuesday night Clemson led from start to finish, opening the game with a 21-6 run to take control early. The Tigers led by 10 at the half, 49-39.

"One of the things we wanted to do was jump on them early, instead of them jumping on us," said Ford. "We did not want to happen to us what happened in our last game at North Carolina. Carolina jumped out on us 12-1 at the beginning of that game. We wanted to make the first hit."

Maryland got as close as three points in the second half, and trailed by just four - 89-85 - with 1:44 remaining. But Cheyenne Moore and Olu Babalola each hit a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions to stretch the lead to 93-85.

"We know that every road game in the ACC is a game of runs," said Babalola. "We knew when they made a run that we had to stick together as a team and we did that. We also knew that if we could play hard for 40 minutes we could get the win."

Nik Caner-Medly answered with a 3-pointer for the Terps with 1:14 to go, cutting the lead to 93-88.

But just moments later, with the score 94-89, the Tigers' Cliff Hammonds broke free for a dunk with :35 left to put an exclamation point on the victory.

Shawan Robinson finished with 17 points for Clemson, while Hammonds added 12 and Babalola 11.

Caner-Medley topped Maryland (16-9) with 23 points. Chris McCray added 21.

CLEMSON (13-13) - Perry 4-10 0-0 8, Mays 2-2 0-0 4, Ford 9-13 6-12 24, Hamilton 3-5 2-5 8, Hammonds 4-7 2-4 12, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Babalola 2-6 6-6 11, Moore 2-3 2-2 8, Robinson 5-7 4-6 17, Akingbala 1-2 3-6 5. Totals 32-55 25-41 97

MARYLAND (16-9) - Garrison 6-13 4-5 16, Caner-Medley 9-15 2-3 23, Ibekwe 2-7 3-4 7, Gilchrist 4-16 1-2 12, McCray 9-16 2-2 21, Ledbetter 1-4 4-4 7, Gist 0-2 1-4 1, Grinnon 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 2-8 2-2 6, Bowers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-81 19-26 93.

Halftime — Clemson 49-39.

3-Point Goals — Clemson 8-12 (Robinson 3-4, Hammonds 2-3, Moore 2-3, Babalola 1-2), Maryland 8-23 (Caner-Medley 3-5, Gilchrist 3-7, Ledbetter 1-1, McCray 1-3, Garrison 0-2, Jones 0-5).

Fouled Out — Garrison, Ibekwe.

Rebounds — Clemson 37 (Ford 10), Maryland 47 (Gilchrist 10).

Assists — Clemson 12 (Robinson 3), Maryland 18 (Gilchrist 5).

Total Fouls — Clemson 26, Maryland 29.

Attendance — 17,950.

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