Clemson Grinds Out 87-77 Win Over Charleston So


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<font class=caption>Junior Will Solomon led Clemson with 22 points.</font>
Junior Will Solomon led Clemson with 22 points.

CLEMSON -- If you're Clemson, you walk away from this one quickly. Don't look back. Hope someone burns the tape - at least the first ten minutes.

Charleston Southern, which came in with a 2-9 record, figured out a way to build a 15-point lead against Clemson early and made the Tigers struggle to a 87-77 win in front of 3,000 at Littlejohn Coliseum on Thursday night.

"I would prefer to say we won by 25," said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt.

Charleston Southern (2-10) held a 15-point lead with 13:17 left in the first half. Clemson (8-4) regained the lead by the end of the first half, 45-42 and scored five quick points to start the second half and take an 8-point. It appeared that the Tigers would quickly take over the game. However, Charleston Southern didn't go away.

"We had some open looks early and knocked them in the basket," said CSU coach Jim Platt. "Our kids did a great job hitting the shot."

A free throw by Nikola Pejovic tied the game, 56-56, with 14:45 left in the game.

Clemson led 58-57 and then went on an 8-0 run. Will Solomon drove the lane for a bucket, Dustin Braddick hit a 15-footer, Chris Hobbs hit two free throws and Tony Stockman hit a running 18-footer and the Tigers were as in control of the game as they had been all night. They had a 66-57 lead with 10:44 left in the game.

After a basket by CSU's O.J. Linney, Clemson scored five straight points to take a 71-59 lead. Stockman hit a 10-footer. Platt was given a technical foul, which resulted in a free throw by Solomon. Stockman hit two free throws to give Clemson a 71-59 lead with 8:52 left in the game.

Clemson still had a 10-point lead with 1:31 left, but Shyatt couldn't feel comfortable until his team walked off the floor.

"We played fundamentally much more sound than we have been playing," said Platt.

Solomon and Stockman led Clemson with 22 points, while Linney and Gene Granger led CSU with 16.

Clemson led by three at the half, but spent most of the first half on its heels.

Charleston Southern built a 15-point lead less than nine minutes into the game. CSU hit four three pointers during the first nine minutes while the Tigers couldn't get the ball into the hands of either Will Solomon or Tony Stockman. Neither hit a shot while CSU built a 26-11 lead.

The Tigers were spread out by CSU, which hit ten of its first 14 shots. Six different players scored during CSU's opening run.

Solomon and Stockman led a run that got the Tigers back into the game.

Solomon hit a pair of free throws. Then, Stockman scored on a layup and hit two straight 3-pointers. Ray Henderson capped the 12-0 run with a five-footer to cut the lead to 26-23 with 9:58 left in the first half.

However, CSU then went on an 8-0 run to take a 34-23 lead with 6:22 left in the half on a shot form the top of the key by Ed O'Neil.

Solomon scored ten points in the final six minutes of the half to lead Clemson to its first lead of the night. Pasha Bains gave Clemson the lead (40-38) on a 3-pointer with 1:48 left in the half. Solomon hit a 3-pointer to give Clemson a 43-38 lead.

Ivica Perica led CSU with 10 points in the first half, while Solomon scored 12 for Clemson.

The Tigers travel to Coastal Carolina for a game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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