Booker and Potter get a huge Senior Night win


by - Senior Writer -
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Emotional night for the Tigers as the seniors played their last game in Littlejohn. (photos: fotoman)

CLEMSON – Trevor Booker floated to the left of the lane, saw teammate Noel Johnson square up for a long three and took four huge steps towards the backboard, jumped high in the air to grab the missed shot and slammed it home, putting an exclamation point on his Littlejohn Coliseum career and huge ACC win on Senior Night.

The shot came after Georgia Tech’s Glen Rice, Jr.., had nailed a 3-pointer bring the Jackets to within 14 at 81-67 with just over five minutes remaining. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt had called a timeout in hopes of setting up a defensive stop, but instead saw one of the best players in Clemson history effectively dash any hopes the Jackets of coming away with the win.

Booker scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, joining fellow senior David Potter [11 points] in leading the Tigers (21-8 overall, 9-6 ACC) to a 91-80 victory over Tech (19-10, 7-8) in front of packed house at Littlejohn Coliseum in a win that should cement the Tigers’ inclusion into the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s a night I will always remember and I know our seniors will,” Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. “I thought it was appropriate that his last score here on Senior Night was one of those tap dunks that we have seen so many times and get the crowd going. It was kind of an exclamation mark and the game’s over. He gets everybody juiced up when he makes plays.”

Potter also played well, hitting three big 3-pointers, two in an opening run of the first half that kept the Tigers close, and Purnell said he was pleased with the senior’s effort.

“He played one of his better games tonight,” Purnell said. “He had leadership and a steady hand. He played like a senior.”

The Tigers and Jackets played an up-tempo, physical first half, with each team taking turns at holding the lead. The Tigers jumped out to an early 5-2 advantage, but Tech used their side inside to eventually take their biggest lead of the half at 26-20 on a layup by Glen Rice, Jr. with 7:11 left.

The Tigers went back on top when Donte Hill, playing because Tanner Smith had gone out with a leg injury, scored on a drive to the basket for a 38-36 lead. The teams eventually tied it back up at 41-41 and the Tigers had the ball with seven seconds remaining when Demontez Stitt tried to drive the lane and was stripped of the ball.

The Jackets’ Zachery Peacock didn’t know how much time remained and tried to shoot a three-quarter court shot, but was called for traveling with 2.6 seconds remaining, giving the ball back to the Tigers, and Andre Young worked his magic for the second game in a row, draining a 3-pointer from 28 feet to give Clemson a 44-41 halftime lead.

Purnell said seeing Young hit those shots [he hit one just inside the half court line just before the half at FSU on Sunday] is a show he can watch over and over.

“Andre’s three going into halftime gave us a jolt,” Purnell said. “It was like a pleasant replay that I can watch over and over again. It was a big shot, and definitely gave us some momentum heading into the half.”

That momentum carried over into the second half as the Tigers came out and immediately went on a 17-5 run, smoking the Jackets from long range in building a huge lead.


Young hit a 3-pointer from the corner to begin the half, and Stitt followed with a trey from the top of the key for a quick 50-41 Tiger lead. Booker and Jerai Grant scored the next 11 Clemson points before Stitt, who finished one point off of his career high with 20 points, launched another long-range shot that put Clemson ahead 64-48. From there, the Tigers were able to keep the Jackets at bay.

“I’m very pleased with our team right now,” Purnell said. “We needed to be ready to play and we were. Their two big guys are a menace, and their whole team is good one through five. We did well rebounding and making shots. We also did a great job of attacking the basket. Other than our big guys not shooting free throws, we did well offensively.

“We locked them down on defense. We came into the game wanting to honor our seniors, and we did that. The importance of this night for this program energized us. We didn’t lose steam after Tanner Smith’s injury, we picked up steam. We need to stay focused going to Wake Forest to get a top seed in the ACC tournament.”

Purnell was asked if he thought the Tigers had done enough to earn and NCAA bid, and his answer was short and to the point, saying, “If we don’t get into the NCAA tournament now, I’m seceding from the ACC. In two out of the last three years, we have surged at the end like this. Hopefully we can make it to the ACC Championship and change that script.”

Booker said he was pleased with the way the night turned out for himself and Potter.

“It was great,” Booker said. “Just to have him [Potter] go out with a bang is great. He played a great game, and I played well and so did the other guys. It was a great way to finish. Everybody played great, and this was the most people we have had here all this season. I couldn’t have asked for any better.”
Potter said he fed off the crowd’s energy, and was happy he was able to help his team pick up a crucial win.

“It was great to just come out and give my team a spark,” Potter said. “There is nothing like playing in place like this when the crowd is going like it was tonight. I took a little time to look around and soak everything up tonight. It was a sad moment, but exciting, too. I am pretty sure this win gives us a spot in the NCAA Tournament, so it was a great night. I could have had a bad game, but as long as we won I would have been happy.”

VISITORS: Georgia Tech 19-10, 7-8
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
14 Favors, Derrick..... f  7-12   0-0    2-3    3  4  7   1  16  0  4  4  1  33
31 Lawal, Gani......... f  5-8    0-0    1-4    4  3  7   3  11  0  0  0  0  18
01 Shumpert, Iman...... g  3-10   1-5    0-0    0  1  1   4   7  4  4  0  1  24
13 Bell, D'Andre....... g  4-8    1-2    1-2    2  2  4   1  10  0  1  0  0  22
41 Rice, Glen.......... g  6-13   3-6    2-2    4  4  8   4  17  4  0  0  0  33
00 Udofia, Mfon........    0-3    0-0    2-2    0  1  1   2   2  0  0  0  0   5
03 Miller, Maurice.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  3  4   1   0  4  4  1  1  17
04 Foreman, Nick.......    0-0    0-0    2-2    0  0  0   0   2  0  0  0  0   1
10 Storrs, Lance.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0  0+
11 Oliver, Brian.......    3-9    2-6    0-0    0  1  1   4   8  3  1  0  0  18
34 Sheehan, Brad.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  1  0   6
35 Peacock, Zachery....    3-5    0-0    1-2    3  3  6   3   7  1  1  0  3  23
   TEAM................                         2  2  4
   Totals..............   31-68   7-19  11-17  19 25 44  23  80 16 15  6  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-35 45.7%   2nd Half: 15-33 45.5%   Game: 45.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-6  50.0%   2nd Half:  4-13 30.8%   Game: 36.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half:  5-8  62.5%   Game: 64.7%    4


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson 21-8, 9-6
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
15 Potter, David....... f  3-6    3-6    2-4    0  2  2   4  11  4  1  0  0  31
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  8-11   1-2    4-11   4  5  9   2  21  5  0  3  1  35
45 Grant, Jerai........ c  5-6    0-0    0-4    1  0  1   2  10  1  1  1  0  22
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  6-10   4-6    4-4    0  2  2   2  20  7  3  0  4  36
05 Smith, Tanner....... g  1-3    1-2    0-0    0  1  1   0   3  1  0  0  2   6
01 Johnson, Noel.......    1-4    0-3    0-0    1  4  5   2   2  1  3  0  0  12
11 Young, Andre........    3-8    3-7    4-4    0  2  2   0  13  2  1  0  0  31
24 Jennings, Milton....    1-4    0-1    0-2    1  2  3   1   2  0  1  1  0  12
31 Booker, Devin.......    3-5    0-0    1-2    3  1  4   3   7  0  0  0  0  11
32 Hill, Donte.........    1-1    0-0    0-1    1  0  1   0   2  0  1  0  0   4
   TEAM................                         1  1  2
   Totals..............   32-58  12-27  15-32  12 20 32  16  91 21 11  5  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-31 51.6%   2nd Half: 16-27 59.3%   Game: 55.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-12 50.0%   2nd Half:  6-15 40.0%   Game: 44.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-15 40.0%   2nd Half:  9-17 52.9%   Game: 46.9%    6


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Officials: Roger Ayers, Bernard Clinton, Joe Lindsay
Technical fouls: Georgia Tech-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 10000
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Georgia Tech..................   41   39  -   80
Clemson.......................   44   47  -   91

Points in the paint-GT 40,CU 38. Points off turnovers-GT 11,CU 22.
2nd chance points-GT 24,CU 17. Fast break points-GT 2,CU 4.
Bench points-GT 19,CU 26. Score tied-5 times. Lead changed-8 times.
Last FG-GT 2nd-01:56, CU 2nd-02:15.
Largest lead-GT by 6 1st-07:23, CU by 18 2nd-14:45.

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