Tigers Pick Up Huge Road Win over Hokies


by - Senior Writer -
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David Potter added a key 3-pointer to break the 80-80 tie.

This is the kind of win that seasons and NCAA Tournament berths are made of.

The 11th-ranked Tigers overcame a torrid start by the red-hot Virginia Tech Hokies, trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, outscoring Tech 37-19 down the stretch to post an 86-82 victory over Virginia Tech and improve to 18-2 on the season.

Clemson (18-2, 4-2 ACC), snapped the Hokies’ (14-6, 4-2) four-game wining streak by taking off their usual full court press in the second half, holding Tech to just 29 second half points, and getting a season-high 29 points from captain K.C. Rivers.

The Tigers used an 18-0 run to get back in the game and then outscored the Hokies 8-2 over the final 2:08 to seal the victory.

“They spring into the half and out of the half, but we overcame that,” Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. “Our guys refused to lose tonight, and came back and took some semblance of control. Our guys just made big plays and big shots.”

The Hokies jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half and led by as many as 14 before the Tigers made a run just before the half, eventually trimming the Hokie lead to just five when Trevor Booker hit a three-pointer with a 55 seconds remaining.

The Tigers then missed a layup and Virginia Tech hit a 50-shot just before the buzzer to take the momentum and a nine point lead into the intermission, 53-44, led by Malcolm Delaney’s 22 points.

The Tigers came out in the second half and removed their signature full court pressure and instead opted for a half court, trapping defense, but the Hokies scored eight of the first 10 points to open a 61-46 lead.

David Potter then hit a free throw as Clemson scored 18 consecutive points, getting seven points from Rivers in the span, and then Demontez Stitt hit two 3-pointers and the Tigers led 66-63 with 10:18 to play.

Clemson led by six with 7:30 remaining in the game, but the Hokies made a 13-4 run to re-take the lead. Delaney had seven points in the burst, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key to end it, and give Virginia Tech a 79-76 lead with 3:24 to play

The Tigers, as they had all night, responded in a big way. Booker had a put-back and Potter scored on a drive, and then added a key 3-pointer from the top of the key to break the 80-80 tie. Rivers then followed Dorenzo Hudson’s layup with a shot from the top of the key with 48 seconds left that gave the Tigers an 85-82 lead.

The Tigers missed two free throws late, but still held on the for the big win.

Purnell said the defensive change was key at helping stop the Hokie offense in the second half.

“From a defensive standpoint, we just weren’t getting much out of our full court pressure,” Purnell said. “We then went to a half court press, trying to trap their ball screens and get them out of their rhythm a little bit. We got their big three of their rhythm, and that got us back in attack mode.

“Our guys just fought. For the first 15 minutes, they got every loose ball, and every rebound. But we started to get physical and fight back. At the half, we talked to the team about toughness, and that took full effect in the second half.”

Earlier in the week, Purnell had urged Rivers, held in single digits for three consecutive ballgames, to be more aggressive on the offensive end, and Rivers responded to his coach in a big way, hitting 10-of-17 shots, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds, four assists, no turnovers and a key block. Booker was the only other Tiger in double figures, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

“K.C. was unbelievable all night long,” Purnell said. “That was one of the best all-around performances as I have seen all year long. He was hitting three pointers - you name it, he did it. And he had that big block.”

Delaney had a career-high 37 for the Hokies, while Jeff Allen had 13 points and nine rebounds and A.D. Vassallo scored 10 points, eight below his average, for Virginia Tech, which lost despite shooting 51.7 percent from the field.

Next up for the Tigers is a huge home contest against the Duke Blue Devils, which will be played next Wednesday night in Littlejohn Coliseum with a 9 p.m. start.


VISITORS: Clemson 18-2, 4-2 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  8-16   1-1    4-5    5  8 13   1  21  0  4  1  2  37
12 Sykes, Raymond...... c  3-5    0-0    2-4    5  1  6   2   8  0  2  1  2  21
01 Rivers, K.C......... g 10-17   7-10   2-3    2  4  6   1  29  4  0  1  1  37
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  2-12   2-5    2-2    2  1  3   3   8  5  1  0  1  31
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  1-5    1-3    2-2    0  1  1   1   5  0  1  0  0  22
05 Smith, Tanner.......    1-2    1-1    0-1    0  0  0   1   3  0  0  0  0   7
11 Young, Andre........    2-5    1-2    0-0    0  0  0   0   5  1  1  0  0   9
15 Potter, David.......    2-5    1-3    2-4    2  3  5   4   7  7  1  0  0  24
45 Grant, Jerai........    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   4   0  0  0  1  1  12
   TEAM................                         3     3
   Totals..............   29-67  14-25  14-21  20 19 39  17  86 17 10  4  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-37 43.2%   2nd Half: 13-30 43.3%   Game: 43.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  8-15 53.3%   2nd Half:  6-10 60.0%   Game: 56.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-7  57.1%   2nd Half: 10-14 71.4%   Game: 66.7%   2,1


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HOME TEAM: Virginia Tech 14-6, 4-2 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
00 Jeff Allen.......... f  5-11   0-1    3-6    1  8  9   5  13  1  5  2  3  32
14 Victor Davila....... f  2-3    0-0    2-2    2  2  4   2   6  0  0  1  0  23
33 J.T. Thompson....... f  3-4    0-0    0-0    2  2  4   2   6  0  0  1  0  19
40 A.D. Vassallo....... f  4-13   1-6    1-2    1  1  2   3  10  4  4  0  0  38
23 Malcolm Delaney..... g 11-17   6-10   9-10   1  2  3   1  37  1  2  0  0  39
01 Terrell Bell........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
05 Dorenzo Hudson......    1-3    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   1   2  0  0  0  0  16
10 Hank Thorns.........    1-3    0-1    0-0    0  2  2   0   2  5  1  0  1  18
21 Lewis Witcher.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   1   0  0  1  0  0   2
34 Cheick Diakite......    3-5    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   3   6  0  0  1  0  12
   TEAM................                         2  4  6             1
   Totals..............   30-59   7-19  15-20  12 23 35  18  82 11 14  5  4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 20-33 60.6%   2nd Half: 10-26 38.5%   Game: 50.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-10 40.0%   2nd Half:  3-9  33.3%   Game: 36.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  9-11 81.8%   2nd Half:  6-9  66.7%   Game: 75.0%    2


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Officials: Bryan Kersey, Ed Corbett, Dwayne Gladden
Technical fouls: Clemson-None. Virginia Tech-None.
Attendance: 9847
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Clemson.......................   44   42  -   86
Virginia Tech.................   53   29  -   82
Clemson is ranked #12 in the AP Poll and #11 in the Coaches' Poll.

Points in the paint-CU 26,VT 42. Points off turnovers-CU 16,VT 12.
2nd chance points-CU 22,VT 15. Fast break points-CU 0,VT 13.
Bench points-CU 15,VT 10. Score tied-4 times. Lead changed-4 times.
Last FG-CU 2nd-00:48, VT 2nd-01:10.
Largest lead-CU by 6 2nd-07:39, VT by 15 2nd-17:17

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