Clemson Holds On for Road ACC Win


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Olu Babalola hit the go-ahead jumper with 2:10 left in the game Wednesday night, and Clemson fought tooth-and-nail down the stretch to make the basket stand up for a 56-54 victory at Florida State.


The Tigers had a pair of chances to extend the lead in the final minute, but Babalola and Cliff Hammonds each missed jump shots - Hammonds' attempt coming with :21 left and after the Tigers had taken a time out.


His miss gave the Seminoles (9-7, 1-2 ACC) a final chance to win the game in regulation, but a 3-point attempt by Von Wafer in the final 2 seconds missed, and the Tigers claimed their first road win in their last 13 tries. It was Clemson's first win in Tallahassee since the 1997-98 season.


"It's an important win for us. There is no question about it, particularly coming off one of our worst performances of the year at home," said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell.


Leading by a point at the half, Clemson (10-5, 1-2) opened the second half with a 10-2 run to grab a nine-point lead, 38-27. Sharrod Ford hit a pair of jumpers to start the run, and Shawan Robinson capped it with 3-pointers on his first shot attempts of the half.



Florida State would slowly chip away at the lead until finally catching up on a Wafer 3-pointer at 4:45, tying the game at 52-52. Robinson took back the lead for Clemson with a jumper at 3:41, but the Seminoles tied it again at 54-54 on a pair of free throws by Alexander Johnson on the next possession.


That set the stage for Babalola's eventual game-winner at 2:10. Clemson's defense didn't allow Florida State another field goal attempt down the stretch including Wafer's missed shot at the end.


Hammonds led Clemson with 12 points, followed by Ford with 11 and Robinson with 10.


Johnson was the only Seminole in double figures, finishing with 20 points.


The Tigers won despite shooting just 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the field and 55.6 percent (10-18) from the free throw line.


Clemson overcame a horrid start from the field to lead at the half, 27-26.


The Tigers missed their first seven field goal attempts and didn't connect until Hamilton hit a 3-pointer at 12:08. Fortunately for Clemson, Florida State also started poorly and Hamilton's trey actually pulled the Tigers to within two points, 7-5.


Clemson would trail by as many as six points as the half wore on, fought back behind solid free throw shooting (9-of-12) and improved defense.


A late-3-pointer by Babalola gave Clemson its largest lead of the half, 27-23. Anthony Richardon's trifecta with :50 left in the half pulled FSU to within 27-26.


CLEMSON (10-5): Ford 5-11 1-4 11, Babalola 3-8 1-2 8, Moore 0-4 0-0 0, Robinson 3-11 2-2 10, Hammonds 4-8 2-2 12, Hamilton 3-6 0-0 7, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Hudson 0-0 0-0 0, Perry 1-1 2-2 4, Akingbala 1-5 2-6 4, Mays 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 10-18 56.


FLORIDA STATE (9-7) Johnson 5-7 9-11 20, Waleskowksi 2-5 1-2 5, Galloway 1-4 2-4 4, Wilson 1-2 0-0 3, Wafer 2-8 0-0 5, Swann 1-1 1-2 3, Mims 1-2 0-0 2, Thornton 1-1 0-0 2, Rich 2-4 1-2 5, Romero 0-0 0-0 0, Richardson 1-2 2-2 5. Totals 17-36 16-23 54.


Halftime — Clemson 27-26.
3-Point goals — Clemson 6-22 (Hammonds 2-4, Robinson 2-8, Babaloa 1-3, Allen 1-3, Moore 0-4); Florida State 4-13 (Wafer 1-6, Wilson 1-2, Johnson 1-1, Richardson 1-1, Waleskowski 0-1, Galloway 0-1, Rich 0-1).
Fouled out — Ford.
Rebounds — Clemson 35 (Ford 12); Florida State 25 (Johnson, Waleskowski, Richardson, Wafer 3).
Assists — Clemson 12(Moore 4); Florida State 7 (Swann 2).
Technicals — Waleskowski; Ford.
Total fouls — Clemson 20; Florida State 17.
Attendance — 7,293.

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