Florida St. stuns Tigers With Big Second Half Comeback


by - Senior Writer -
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Booker led four Tigers in double figures with 11 points and added five rebounds. (Photo: fotoman)

Clemson captain K.C. Rivers stood facing the media Saturday evening, and his statements reflected the anguish on his face.

“It hurts,” Rivers said. “It hurts that you win a big one on Wednesday and come back and shoot yourself in the foot on Saturday. That is what hurts. We did not do what we were supposed to do, and it came back and bit us in the butt.”

The Florida St. Seminoles were the ones doing the biting, erasing a 19-point second half deficit by clamping down defensively while taking advantage of their height on offense, going on a 23-4 run to close out the game and claim a 65-61 victory over the 10th-ranked Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers (19-3, 5-3) led by 19 on a shot by David Potter with just over 14 minutes remaining, then saw the Noles (18-5, 5-3) outscore them 40-17 down the stretch for the win, pulling into a tie with Clemson in the league standings.

“Obviously, this was a very disappointing loss,” Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. “On our home court, in a game we had some control of in the second half. We weren’t playing our best and still had some control. I think we were up 19 in the second half and really didn’t play well from then on. Florida St., give them credit because they hung in there and that’s what you’ve got to do.”

The Tigers came out of the gates in the first half playing like the team that had beaten Duke on Wednesday, opening up a 13-point lead at one point, at 23-10 on a Trevor Booker dunk with 9:20 remaining.

The Seminoles would climb back, however, by holding Clemson to just six points over that final 9:20, and when the Noles’ Toney Douglas hit a three just before the buzzer, Clemson led 30-22.

The Tigers again roared out of the gates in the second half, scoring the first 10 points, all in just the first two minutes. Booker had a lay-in, Demontez Stitt hit a three, Raymond Sykes had a put back for two, and Rivers hit a three from the corner for a 40-22 lead with 18 minutes remaining.

Florida St. coach Leonard Hamilton called a timeout, but the Tigers still went up by 19 on Potter’s drive to the hole.

Douglas, who came into the contest with six consecutive games of over 20 points, then started to take over the contest, matching the Tigers’ output from that point on with 17 points on his way to a game-high 23.

The Tigers had one final chance to put the game away for good when Booker and Potter hit back-to-back threes with 8:50 left on the game clock for a 57-42 lead, but that started the final stretch run for the Seminoles, who started pounding inside to Solomon Alabi, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Alabi hit a turnaround with 2:03 remaining to put the Seminoles back on top, 60-59, for the first time since the early minutes of the game, and Terrence Oglesby missed a three-pointer that would have given the Tigers the lead back, and the Tigers were only able to muster two Booker foul shots the rest of the way.

“They finished on a 23-4 run, so we obviously didn’t stop them and we didn’t score,” Purnell said. “I don’t want to give the impress that we were flat; we were good enough to be up 19 points in the second half. We weren’t good enough to win, but I just didn’t think we were flat.

“We had some guys pressing and not taking good shots, we didn’t set good screens, and we missed some shots. I thought it was a combination of poor offense and not stopping them like we did in the first half.”


The Tigers had four players in double figures, with Stitt and Booker earning 11 points each, while Rivers and Sykes scored 10 apiece.

Now the Tigers, who finished the first half of the ACC season with a 5-3 league record, have to face the reality of five road games in their last eight in ACC action, starting Tuesday at Boston College, followed by a trip to Virginia next Sunday.

“Offensively, defensively, execution, the whole thing,” Rivers said. “Clemson basketball was not there tonight. We eased off and took the foot off the gas and shot ourselves in the foot. We did not stay on what we were doing, got too relaxed, and they came back and took advantage, But, we know what is at stake now. We have been through this before. There are a lot of ups and downs, and this is a down. Now we’ll try and get back up.“


VISITORS: Florida State 18-5,5-3
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
31 Singleton, Chris.... f  2-9    1-5    0-0    2  4  6   2   5  2  3  0  4  31
41 Echefu, Uche........ f  2-7    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   3   4  1  2  0  0  20
32 Alabi, Solomon...... c  8-10   0-0    1-3    4  5  9   2  17  0  1  5  2  26
22 Kitchen, Derwin..... g  0-3    0-0    1-2    1  3  4   1   1  1  2  0  1  21
23 Douglas, Toney...... g  6-15   3-9    8-9    2  5  7   1  23  4  4  0  0  38
01 Gibson, Xavier......    1-2    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   2  0  0  0  0   5
02 DeMercy, Jordan.....    2-2    1-1    0-0    0  0  0   1   5  1  1  1  1  12
03 Loucks, Luke........    1-2    1-1    0-0    0  1  1   4   3  5  0  0  0  19
04 Dulkys, Deividas....    1-5    1-4    0-0    0  0  0   0   3  1  1  0  2  18
42 Reid, Ryan..........    1-4    0-0    0-0    4  1  5   1   2  0  3  0  0  10
   TEAM................                         2     2
   Totals..............   24-59   7-20  10-14  17 19 36  15  65 15 17  6 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-30 30.0%   2nd Half: 15-29 51.7%   Game: 40.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-11 27.3%   2nd Half:  4-9  44.4%   Game: 35.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  1-1  100 %   2nd Half:  9-13 69.2%   Game: 71.4%   3,1


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson 19-3,5-3
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Rivers, K.C......... f  4-10   2-6    0-0    0  2  2   2  10  0  2  1  2  30
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  4-7    1-2    2-2    1  4  5   0  11  1  1  0  2  35
12 Sykes, Raymond...... c  5-5    0-0    0-0    4  2  6   2  10  1  4  0  0  24
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  4-8    1-3    2-2    0  1  1   3  11  5  1  0  2  28
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  2-9    1-6    0-0    0  1  1   3   5  2  6  0  4  22
05 Smith, Tanner.......    1-3    0-1    0-0    1  3  4   1   2  0  2  1  0  14
11 Young, Andre........    1-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   1   2  0  2  0  0  12
15 Potter, David.......    2-7    1-5    0-1    1  1  2   2   5  1  0  0  0  23
45 Grant, Jerai........    1-2    0-0    3-4    1  1  2   3   5  0  0  0  2  12
   TEAM................                         2  3  5
   Totals..............   24-53   6-24   7-9   10 18 28  17  61 10 18  2 12 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-24 50.0%   2nd Half: 12-29 41.4%   Game: 45.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-10 20.0%   2nd Half:  4-14 28.6%   Game: 25.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-5  80.0%   2nd Half:  3-4  75.0%   Game: 77.8%   1,1


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Officials: Karl Hess, Roger Ayers, Sean Hull
Technical fouls: Florida State-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 10000
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Florida State.................   22   43  -   65
Clemson.......................   30   31  -   61

Points in the paint-FSU 32,CU 28. Points off turnovers-FSU 20,CU 17.
2nd chance points-FSU 9,CU 14. Fast break points-FSU 2,CU 0.
Bench points-FSU 15,CU 14. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-3 times.
Last FG-FSU 2nd-02:07, CU 2nd-04:23.
Largest lead-FSU by 5 2nd-00:21, CU by 19 2nd-14:45.

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