Tigers get win over NCSU but lose Stitt


by - Senior Writer -
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RALEIGH, N.C — The Clemson Tigers leave Raleigh with a win on the scoreboard, but have apparently lost the services of point guard Demontez Stitt for next Tuesday’s showdown with Georgia Tech.

Trevor Booker scored 20 points, Jerai Grant had a huge block at the end and Tanner Smith hit two key free throws to lead No. 24 Clemson past the North Carolina Wolfpack 73-70 at the RBC Center Saturday afternoon.

“We came up with some big stops at the end,” Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. “We were really, really tough in the first half and we were tough at the end. Those are two pretty good times to be tough. I thought N.C. State played their tails off, and played harder than us in the second half. That happens sometimes on road.”


Point guard Demontez Stitt left the game with a sprained upper foot early in the second half and did not return to the game, and his availability for next Tuesday in Atlanta is doubtful.

Smith added 11 points, including two late free throws, for the Tigers (15-3, 3-1 ACC). They never trailed but blew nearly all of a 21-point lead before coming up with two key defensive stops in the final minute to snap a pesky streak of letdowns that dated to 1997-98.

After beating a ranked team, they had lost the following game 14 consecutive times before this one — which down the stretch bore a strong resemblance to the Tigers' most recent attempt. After upsetting then-No. 12 Butler in November, they blew a 23-point lead and lost to Illinois. The game was also notable in that it was head coach Oliver Purnell’s 15th ACC road win, giving him the top spot in road wins in Clemson history.

Julius Mays had 17 points for the Wolfpack (12-6, 1-3), who trailed 71-70 and had the ball when Grant came out of nowhere to block Richard Howell's open layup with 35 seconds left. Clemson milked some clock before Smith hit his free throws with 18.6 seconds left and N.C. State called its final timeout.

The Tigers denied Wolfpack sharpshooter Scott Wood and open look, and Mays' 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left went around the rim and out with the rebound going out of bounds under the basket with 1.9 seconds second. Mays launched a desperation 30-footer that went off the front of the rim.

“We hit our free throws at the end when we had to,” Purnell said. “And then we had some huge stops there at the end, and none bigger than Grant’s block. We played extremely well in the first half, and then we played well in the last six minutes, and that was a key for us. We missed Demontez in the second half, and the biggest thing is we missed that second point guard.”

The Tigers looked like they were headed for their second consecutive blowout early in the contest, taking early control of the contest with two big runs.

Clemson opened the contest on a 14-5 run, and then used a 16-2 run midway through the half to push the lead into double figures. Stitt capped the second run by driving the lane for a layup that made it 36-16 with 4:45 left, and Clemson went up 43-22 on Grant's layup with 2:13 left.

Stitt then went out with his injury in the second half, and the Wolfpack started chipping away the Clemson lead and setting up the close finish.

VISITORS: Clemson 15-3, 3-1 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Stitt, Demontez..... *  3-7    0-3    3-4    0  1  1   0   9  2  1  1  1  23
05 Smith, Tanner....... *  2-4    0-1    7-8    2  4  6   4  11  4  2  2  1  29
15 Potter, David....... *  1-7    0-4    0-0    0  1  1   3   2  0  1  1  2  22
35 Booker, Trevor...... *  9-16   0-1    2-3    0  6  6   2  20  1  1  2  2  34
45 Grant, Jerai........ *  4-4    0-0    3-5    2  1  3   4  11  0  1  3  1  29
01 Johnson, Noel.......    3-7    1-4    0-0    0  2  2   2   7  2  1  0  0  20
11 Young, Andre........    3-6    3-4    0-1    1  4  5   2   9  1  3  0  0  27
24 Jennings, Milton....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  0  0  0   4
31 Booker, Devin.......    1-1    0-0    2-2    1  0  1   1   4  1  1  0  0  11
32 Hill, Donte.........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM................                         2  1  3
   Totals..............   26-53   4-17  17-23   8 20 28  20  73 11 11  9  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-30 60.0%   2nd Half:  8-23 34.8%   Game: 49.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-7  42.9%   2nd Half:  1-10 10.0%   Game: 23.5%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-8  75.0%   2nd Half: 11-15 73.3%   Game: 73.9%    1


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: NC State 12-6, 1-3 ACC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
10 Gonzalez, Javier.... *  0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  4  0  0  10
12 Degand, Farnold..... *  3-9    0-4    5-6    2  1  3   3  11  3  3  0  2  34
15 Wood, Scott......... *  4-9    3-8    0-0    0  4  4   4  11  0  0  1  1  29
23 Smith, Tracy........ *  5-10   0-0    6-10   2  7  9   3  16  0  2  1  0  37
31 Horner, Dennis...... *  0-2    0-1    2-2    0  0  0   1   2  2  0  0  0  13
01 Howell, Richard.....    5-12   0-2    3-4    5  7 12   3  13  1  0  0  0  26
14 Vandenberg, Jordan..    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   3
21 Williams, C.J.......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   1   0  0  0  0  0  14
22 Davis, Josh.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   3
24 Mays, Julius........    4-9    1-5    8-8    0  0  0   2  17  3  2  1  2  31
   TEAM................                         6  3  9
   Totals..............   21-54   4-21  24-30  15 24 39  20  70  9 11  3  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  7-22 31.8%   2nd Half: 14-32 43.8%   Game: 38.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-9  11.1%   2nd Half:  3-12 25.0%   Game: 19.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 13-16 81.3%   2nd Half: 11-14 78.6%   Game: 80.0%    4


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Officials: Jamie Luckie, Ray Natili, Tim Kelly
Technical fouls: Clemson-None. NC State-None.
Attendance: 17984
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Clemson.......................   45   28  -   73
NC State......................   28   42  -   70

Points in the paint-CU 38,ST 30. Points off turnovers-CU 16,ST 16.
2nd chance points-CU 15,ST 8. Fast break points-CU 13,ST 10.
Bench points-CU 20,ST 30. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-CU 2nd-04:36, ST 2nd-04:50.
Largest lead-CU by 21 1st-02:13, ST None.

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