Second Half Effort Keeps Tigers Perfect


by - Senior Writer -
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The pressure defense of the Clemson Tigers wore down the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second half, and the Tigers overcame a 40-32 halftime deficit to beat the host Illini 76-74 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Champaign Tuesday night.

Sophomore Demontez Stitt continued his remarkable season with a team-high 18 points while junior center Trevor Booker added 16 for the Tigers, whose pressure caused Illinois to commit 17 turnovers and go cold in the second half, including just 2-for-8 from the field in the final five minutes.

"It was definitely a tale of two halves," Clemson (8-0) head coach Oliver Purnell said. "Although there was a stretch in the first half where I thought we were ready to take control and impose our will, they took it to us and we got a little down. I was very pleased to only be down eight at the half."

The Tigers were down 50-44 when Booker and Stitt had back-to-back steals and lay-ups to bring Clemson within four points, and following two points from Illinois, Terrence Oglesby hit a three-pointer to bring the Clemson to within one at 52-51.

The teams would trade the lead two more times before Illinois took a three-point lead at the 6:48 mark on a three-pointer by Chester Frazier.

The Tigers got a lay-up from K.C. Rivers, then on the defensive end, Stitt stole a pass from Frazier, flipped a hard pass to Oglesby, who then threw the ball our front for an uncontested lay-up, again by Rivers, for a 67-66 lead at the 5:03 mark.

The Illini (6-1) would tie it at 67 on a free throw, but the Tigers then went on a 5-0 run that included a big shot by Booker and another by Potter from the left of the key with 2:03 remaining for the 72-67 lead.

Booker added two free throws with 1:14 remaining to lift Clemson to a 74-69 lead, but Demetri McCamey hit a three-pointer from the right side to trim the Tiger lead to just 74-72 with 59 seconds left on the game clock.

The Tigers added two free throws, but Stitt missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with just over eight seconds remaining, giving the Illini one last chance, but the Tiger defense clamped down one last time and Illinois was unable to get off a shot.

"We shot 63 percent in the second half, and we rebounded a little bit better there in the last six minutes," Purnell said. "We got some shots, made some free throws, and rode Booker a little bit down the stretch. We defended solid, and did not make the critical mistakes, which are things you have to do.

"We went small with about five or six minutes left to play, and they had trouble with that match up, but we were still able to rebound, which I thought was important. At the end, we told our guys we knew we were tired but they are too and we have to push through."

Raymond Sykes and Rivers added 14 points apiece for the Tigers, while Mike Davis led Illinois with a career-high 28 points, including the first 12 for the Illini after the break. McCamey added 20 points.

The Tigers return to action Sunday at 3 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum when they host Liberty, which already has wins over Virginia and George Mason to its credit.

VISITORS: Clemson 8-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
12 Sykes, Raymond...... f  6-6    0-0    2-4    2  1  3   1  14  0  1  0  0  27
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  7-14   0-0    2-3    3  5  8   1  16  2  2  1  1  33
01 Rivers, K.C......... g  6-13   2-6    0-0    2  4  6   1  14  1  1  0  0  34
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  8-11   0-1    2-5    0  2  2   3  18  6  2  1  4  35
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  2-5    2-5    0-1    0  0  0   0   6  2  3  0  1  26
05 Smith, Tanner.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0  12
11 Young, Andre........    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  1  1  0  1   5
15 Potter, David.......    2-4    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   1   4  0  1  0  0  15
45 Grant, Jerai........    2-3    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   4  0  1  0  0  13
   TEAM................                         2  1  3
   Totals..............   33-57   4-14   6-13   9 14 23  11  76 12 13  2  7 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-27 51.9%   2nd Half: 19-30 63.3%   Game: 57.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half:  2-8  25.0%   Game: 28.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-4  50.0%   2nd Half:  4-9  44.4%   Game: 46.2%    2

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HOME TEAM: Illinois 6-1
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
24 Davis, Mike......... f 12-19   0-0    4-4    2  6  8   3  28  0  2  1  1  32
54 Tisdale, Mike....... c  0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   3   0  0  2  0  0  10
01 Meacham, Trent...... g  3-8    0-4    0-0    0  0  0   2   6  1  2  0  1  35
03 Frazier, Chester.... g  3-6    1-2    0-0    2  1  3   2   7 12  5  0  1  33
32 McCamey, Demetri.... g  7-17   4-12   2-2    2  1  3   3  20  3  2  0  1  31
13 Jordan, Jeff........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  2  0  0   5
23 Keller, Dominique...    4-4    0-0    0-0    1  4  5   0   8  0  0  1  0  10
25 Brock, Calvin.......    1-3    0-0    1-2    1  2  3   1   3  2  0  0  0  17
50 Semrau, Richard.....    1-3    0-0    0-0    4  4  8   2   2  1  2  0  0  27
   TEAM................                         3  2  5
   Totals..............   31-60   5-18   7-8   15 20 35  16  74 19 17  2  4 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 19-34 55.9%   2nd Half: 12-26 46.2%   Game: 51.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-8  25.0%   2nd Half:  3-10 30.0%   Game: 27.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half:  7-8  87.5%   Game: 87.5%    1

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Officials: Ted Hillary, Tom O'Neill, J.D. Collins
Technical fouls: Clemson-None. Illinois-None.
Attendance: 14741
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Clemson.......................   32   44  -   76
Illinois......................   40   34  -   74
ID-703512
Points in the paint-CLEM 56,ILL 26. Points off turnovers-CLEM 26,ILL 12.
2nd chance points-CLEM 8,ILL 15. Fast break points-CLEM 12,ILL 12.
Bench points-CLEM 8,ILL 13. Score tied-6 times. Lead changed-8 times.
Last FG-CLEM 2nd-00:31, ILL 2nd-01:02.
Largest lead-CLEM by 5 2nd-02:06, ILL by 8 1st-00:00.

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