Booker leads Tigers past Miami, 74-66


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Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 18 points. (Photos: fotoman)
Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 18 points. (Photos: fotoman)

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said during his postgame press conference that he felt like “one big cliché today” after talking about “big wins” and “taking them one game at a time.”

Purnell may have been throwing out the time-honored coaching adages to the media, but there was nothing cliché about the way Purnell’s Tigers picked up a huge win Saturday afternoon, hitting 25-of-31 free throws and knocking down nine huge 3-pointers over Miami’s zone in beating the Hurricanes 74-66 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Included in the free throw statistics was the fact that Clemson (18-7 overall, 6-5 ACC) hit 9-of-10 from the foul line in the last 55 seconds, and four of the Tigers’ first five field goals in the second half were 3-pointers. The Hurricanes (17-8, 3-8) lost for the eighth time this season when hitting less than eight 3-pointers, going 7-of-20 from outside the arc.

“Probably the three were more critical in this game because Miami plays so much zone,” Purnell said. “You have to make the jump shot or the zone will keep shrinking. We got some wide open looks. I asked Tanner [Smith] how many games he thinks we have left that will go down to the last six minutes, and he said ‘all of them.’ Well, if that’s the case, then free throw shooting becomes critical, and it was big today. They finally started making some threes, and if we don’t make them, we don’t win.”

The Tigers once again roared out to an early lead, this time 6-0 in the first two minutes, but the Hurricanes came back to take a 9-8 lead. Tanner Smith later made two free throws to tie the score at 24, and then the Tigers went on a 9-4 run to end the half.

Included in that run was a sideways pass from Booker to Jerai Grant that led to a dunk, and then a pass from Andre Young to Booker two possessions later that led to another dunk, and Clemson led 33-28 at intermission.

The Tigers started off the second half on fire again, eventually jumping out to a 60-49 lead with just over five minutes remaining. During the stretch to begin the second half, Andre Young, Demontez Stitt, Tanner Smith and Milton Jennings all hit big 3-pointers to help pad the Tiger lead.

The Hurricanes starting hitting their own long-range shots and eventually climbed back into the contest when Malcolm Grant’s 3-pointer from the corner trimmed Clemson’s lead to just four, at 67-63, with 55.7 second remaining.

The Tigers then calmly sank 9-of-10 from the foul line to seal the victory.


“We made six more field goals than they did, but they shot more threes and were just more aggressive,” Miami head coach Frank Haith said. “I was disappointed in our ability to get to the line and then we missed our free throws. They were able to get to the line and make their free throws, and that was the difference in the game.”

Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 18 points, with Demontez Stitt chipping in 15, Andre Young 14 and Jerai Grant 13 points. Grant also added nine rebounds.

Young, who finished 4-for-7 from 3-point range, said the Tigers wanted to attack the Hurricanes in the second half.

“We hit a couple in the first half, and wanted to come out in attack mode in the second half,” Young said. “We just kept shooting. This is definitely a huge win for us, and we came out with a lot of effort today. But when that when it goes in to Trevor, and they are going to pack it down in on him, to be ready for the pass back out. And today we made them.”

The Tigers now get a week to rest, returning to action next Saturday against Virginia in a 4 p.m. game in Littlejohn Coliseum, and Purnell said it will be another big game in a stretch of big games as the Tigers try to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.

“I don’t believe there have been two bigger games than the past two we’ve played,” Purnell said. “This obviously sets up another big game next week. I’ve always said that if you win your games at home and split on the road, you’ll be fine.”


VISITORS: Miami 17-8, 3-8
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
21 Collins, Dwayne..... f  4-6    0-0    0-1    1  3  4   3   8  0  2  0  2  22
25 Adams, Garrius...... f  1-5    1-5    2-2    0  0  0   1   5  2  0  0  0  20
45 Gamble, Julian...... c  1-2    0-1    1-2    0  5  5   3   3  1  1  0  2  24
01 Scott, Durand....... g  4-9    1-2    1-4    1  2  3   2  10  3  3  0  2  26
23 Dews, James......... g  4-8    0-2    1-2    0  2  2   5   9  2  3  1  1  32
03 Grant, Malcolm......    5-10   2-5    1-4    0  0  0   1  13  4  1  0  1  29
20 McGowan, Cyrus......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   3   0  0  0  0  0   2
30 Thomas, Adrian......    3-5    3-5    0-0    1  3  4   1   9  1  3  0  0  21
31 Jones, DeQuan.......    2-2    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   4  2  0  0  0  13
42 Johnson, Reggie.....    2-2    0-0    1-2    0  4  4   1   5  0  0  0  0  11
   TEAM................                         5     5             1
   Totals..............   26-50   7-20   7-17   8 20 28  22  66 15 14  1  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-22 54.5%   2nd Half: 14-28 50.0%   Game: 52.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-9  33.3%   2nd Half:  4-11 36.4%   Game: 35.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  1-2  50.0%   2nd Half:  6-15 40.0%   Game: 41.2%    3


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson 18-7, 6-5
                          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  1-6    0-3    0-0    0  1  1   2   2  1  4  0  1  30
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  5-10   0-1    8-10   1  6  7   0  18  2  0  3  0  32
45 Grant, Jerai........ c  3-3    0-0    7-8    3  6  9   3  13  0  1  2  0  30
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  4-9    3-5    4-4    0  2  2   3  15  6  3  0  1  33
05 Smith, Tanner....... g  1-2    1-2    2-4    2  4  6   2   5  1  2  0  2  21
01 Johnson, Noel.......    1-3    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   2   2  0  0  0  0  10
11 Young, Andre........    4-7    4-7    2-2    0  1  1   2  14  2  1  0  3  27
24 Jennings, Milton....    1-3    1-2    0-1    1  1  2   1   3  0  0  0  0   7
31 Booker, Devin.......    0-1    0-0    2-2    0  0  0   0   2  0  0  0  1  10
   TEAM................                         1  2  3
   Totals..............   20-44   9-21  25-31   8 23 31  15  74 12 11  5  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-25 44.0%   2nd Half:  9-19 47.4%   Game: 45.5%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-11 27.3%   2nd Half:  6-10 60.0%   Game: 42.9%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-11 72.7%   2nd Half: 17-20 85.0%   Game: 80.6%    2


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials: Mike Wood, Gary Maxwell, Michael Stephens
Technical fouls: Miami-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 9700
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Miami.........................   28   38  -   66
Clemson.......................   33   41  -   74

Points in the paint-UM 28,CU 18. Points off turnovers-UM 12,CU 13.
2nd chance points-UM 9,CU 6. Fast break points-UM 2,CU 0.
Bench points-UM 31,CU 21. Score tied-6 times. Lead changed-8 times.
Last FG-UM 2nd-00:14, CU 2nd-04:13.
Largest lead-UM by 4 1st-09:12, CU by 11 2nd-06:21.

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