Ford, Hobbs Overpower Wofford


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - After watching a smaller, more aggressive Wofford team push his squad to its limit, Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell finally decided to throw caution to the wind.


Offensive strategy went out the window, replaced by a streetball-like desire to feed the ball inside to big men Sharrod Ford and Chris Hobbs. Clemson did, and ultimately rallied from a 10-point second half deficit for an 84-77 victory over the visiting Terriers Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.


"At one point in the second half we said 'Look, don't worry about running any plays. Just get the ball up the floor, throw it from side to side and get it down inside to the big men,'" Purnell said. "When we did that, we started coming around."


The Tigers' inside duo combined for 38 points and 24 rebounds Saturday, helping Purnell's team improve to 3-0.


Ford finished 24 points and 12 rebounds, 16 and seven of which came in the second half. Twelve of those points came during an eight-minute flurry that saw Clemson turn a 55-45 deficit into a 70-65 lead. Clemson's final six points of the run came on three successive Ford dunks - the final of which came over a Wofford defender off a pass from Shawan Robinson, who was lying flat on his back after diving for a loose ball.


From that point the Tigers played serve-and-volley with the Terriers, never letting Wofford get closer than three points the rest of the way.


Clemson iced the game by hitting six of its final seven free throws in the final :43, which was a direct departure from their effectiveness at the line for most of the afternoon. Clemson finished the day a miserable 17-of-39 (43.6 percent) from the foul line.


"That's obviously something we're going to have to work on," Purnell said. "I can remember saying to Sharrod once, and to Vernon twice, to stay on the line; quit falling away after they shot the ball. When the body starts moving, so does the ball. We'll address it in practice."


Until Clemson finally awoke behind Ford, it was the Terriers who controlled matters most of the afternoon.


Wofford (1-2) attacked the Tigers with an aggressive, man-to-man defense from the outset, backed up by a quick transition game to get things flowing on the offensive end. Guards Justin Stephens (20 points) and Adrien Borders (17) kept the Clemson defense on its heels on nearly every possession.


The Terriers also surprised their larger opponents on the boards, ultimately winning the rebounding battle 47-44 thanks to a 23-16 margin on the offensive end.


"I never would have thought that," Wofford head coach Mike Young said. "I think that statistician is still hung over from Thanksgiving."


But ultimately Clemson's superior size and talent took its toll on Wofford. As fouls began to mount the Terriers were forced to abandon their man-to-man look and play more zone down the stretch - a move which seemed to stifle their aggressiveness.


Ironically it was a Hobbs play in the first half that finally seemed to shake the Tigers out of their doldrums and remind them they were, indeed, in a basketball game.


Hobbs (13 points, 12 rebounds) went airborne over the press table chasing a loose ball, wiping out Clemson Tiger Sports Network play-by-play voice Pete Yanity in the process. While Yanity was quick to recover, Hobbs stayed down for nearly five minutes before finally getting up and jogging to the bench.


"I told our players that Chris was selling out, and that everyone else needed to follow his example," said Purnell. "That seemed to light a fire under us."


For Hobbs, it was an example of yet another lesson learned as his senior season unfolds.


"We've got to have that kind of intensity for 40 minutes," he said. "I think it did fire up my teammates. I could see it on the faces of the guys on the bench as I walked back over there. They seemed to be more into it, and I was like 'Where has this been all day?.'"


Clemson also got double-figure offensive performances from Olu Babalola (17 points), Vernon Hamilton (15) and Chey Christie (10). The Tigers' bench only produced four points in 37 minutes of play.


Clemson's next game is Wed. at Purdue in the ACC/Big East Challenge.



VISITORS: Wofford Terriers 1-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
12 TAYLOR, Greg........ f  3-7    1-3    1-4    1  5  6   2   8  3  6  0  2  25
21 WILKERSON, Howard... f  4-9    1-2    2-4    2  5  7   5  11  1  1  0  2  27
32 DANIELS, Sam........ c  2-7    0-3    0-0    4  2  6   4   4  1  0  1  0  18
02 BORDERS, Adrien..... g  8-17   1-3    0-0    2  0  2   5  17  1  3  0  1  30
03 STEPHENS, Justin.... g  7-14   3-6    3-5    1  2  3   3  20  5  2  0  2  32
11 TARR, Jeff..........    0-1    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   3   0  0  1  0  1   8
14 EATON, David........    2-5    2-4    3-4    2  2  4   2   9  2  0  0  1  17
15 FIELDS, Byron.......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  2  1  0  0   8
20 MARSHALL, Eric......    0-3    0-2    0-0    1  1  2   1   0  0  2  0  0   9
31 BERG, Tyler.........    3-10   0-0    0-0    4  5  9   4   6  0  1  1  1  16
34 IHEKWEAZU, Ugo......    1-2    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   1   2  0  1  0  1  10
   TEAM................                         2  2  4
   Totals..............   30-76   8-23   9-17  23 24 47  30  77 15 18  2 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-35 45.7%   2nd Half: 14-41 34.1%   Game: 39.5%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-9  55.6%   2nd Half:  3-14 21.4%   Game: 34.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-11 36.4%   2nd Half:  5-6  83.3%   Game: 52.9%    3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson Tigers 3-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
12 Olu Babalola........ f  5-12   2-4    5-9    4  5  9   3  17  4  3  3  0  30
43 Chris Hobbs......... f  6-9    0-0    1-2    8  4 12   2  13  2  3  3  1  36
05 Sharrod Ford........ c 10-15   0-0    5-10   1 11 12   1  25  2  1  2  3  35
03 Vernon Hamilton..... g  6-12   0-3    3-10   0  1  1   4  15  2  0  0  5  28
14 Chey Christie....... g  3-6    1-3    3-4    0  2  2   1  10  3  3  0  2  34
02 Lamar Rice..........    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  2  0  0   7
04 Steve Allen.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   2
21 Jimmy Hudson........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  0  0  0   2
22 Shawan Robinson.....    1-4    0-1    0-0    1  2  3   1   2  2  3  0  1  19
33 Akin Akingbala......    1-1    0-0    0-4    1  1  2   2   2  0  1  1  1   7
   TEAM................                         1  1  2
   Totals..............   32-60   3-12  17-39  16 28 44  16  84 15 16  9 13 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-29 51.7%   2nd Half: 17-31 54.8%   Game: 53.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half:  1-6  16.7%   Game: 25.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-14 35.7%   2nd Half: 12-25 48.0%   Game: 43.6%   10

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Officials: Karl Hess, Ray Natili, Mark Schnur
Technical fouls: Wofford Terriers-TEAM. Clemson Tigers-Akin Akingbala; TEAM.
Attendance: 6700
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Wofford Terriers..............   41   36  -   77
Clemson Tigers................   37   47  -   84


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