No. 2 Demon Deacons down Tigers in battle of heavyweights


by - Senior Writer -
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Wake's Jeff Teague led all scorers with 24 points. (Photos: fotoman)

CLEMSON - This one, while maybe not as good as advertised, was still pretty good.

Unfortunately for the Clemson Tigers, No. 2 Wake Forest was just as good as advertised, coming away with a hard-fought 78-68 victory over No. 10 Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday, the 18th consecutive defeat the Tigers have suffered at the hands of a foe ranked in the top five.

“Two things I take away from game, and first of all, Wake Forest is a very good basketball team,” Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. “The second thing is, we have a good team and we didn’t play good. Defensively, they are pretty doggone good, and we didn’t shoot a good percentage.”

The Tigers had fallen behind by 14 points at 58-44 midway through the second half, then went on a 16-3 run to cut Wake’s lead to just one, at 61-60, with 4:54 remaining. However, the Tigers (16-1, 2-1 ACC) then missed their next four shots from the field and Wake Forest (16-0, 3-0) was able to keep their undefeated season alive.

Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio said he was proud of the heart his team showed on the road in a tough ACC contest.

“I thought our guys showed a lot of heart,” Gaudio said. “When they cut it to one, it was pretty loud in there. But we bounced back, and showed a lot of resiliency. That was a terrific win. They made us play chaotic, but I think we are athletic enough to play that way.”

The teams played like two heavyweights in the first half, punching and counter-punching, setting the table for advantages later in the game.

Wake jumped out to a 3-0 lead, then the Tigers roared back to a 7-5 lead before the Demon Deacons went back out on top 11-10. In all, the lead changed hands 10 times in the half, with Clemson’s last lead coming at 27-26 when Jerai Grant hit two free throws with just over three minutes remaining. However, K.C. Rivers’ three-pointer at the 5:33 mark, that gave Clemson a 25-24 lead, was the last field goal of the half for the Tigers, who trailed 32-27 at the break.

Clemson forward Trevor Booker, who came into the game averaging 15.4 points per game, was held to just two points in the half as Wake Forest tried to deny him the ball while keeping him out of the low blocks where he does his most damage.

“I thought he kind of floated a lot there in the first half,” Purnell said. “In the second half, he did a better job of getting down in the blocks where he is hard to stop.”

The Demon Deacons came out firing after the break, however, with Teague nailing a three-pointer and McFarland getting two points under the basket, causing Purnell to call a timeout at the 18:43 mark with Clemson down by 10 at 37-27.

Wake Forest would take that advantage to their biggest lead of the afternoon, at 58-44, with 9:25 remaining on the game clock, when the Clemson press started to make a difference and the offense finally found a little bit of a rhythm.




K.C. Rivers had a chance to become the winningest player in Clemson history with a victory over the Demon Deacons. (Photos: fotoman)



The Tigers went on a 16-3 run over the next five minutes, with Stitt getting two buckets and Raymond Sykes another to start the run. Terrence Oglesby hit two three-pointers, the last at the 5:57 mark, to bring Clemson to within five at 61-56, then Stitt followed that with a steal and reverse lay-up to cut Wake’s lead to just three at 61-58.

Stitt then followed that bucket with another steal on the press, and hit Booker for an apparent dunk, but Wake’s Chas McFarland hit Booker on the way up, and he settled for two free throws to bring Clemson to within one at 61-60 with 4:54 remaining, and Littlejohn Coliseum was rocking.

At that point, however, the Deacons went on a 10-1 run of their own, with Clemson having no answer for the play of Wake’s James Johnson, who scored six points during the run, or Jeff Teague, who led all scorers with 24 points, including 13-for-18 from the charity stripe. That last run saw Wake effectively put the game away on a McFarland layup to make at 71-61 with 2:12 remaining, ending Clemson’s upset bid.

“That was the loudest I have ever heard it,” Oglesby said of the noise in Littlejohn after the Tigers trimmed the lead to one. “We have to do a better job of staying composed and stay on people. But defensively, we went away from what got us there, which is guarding people and putting pressure on the ball and containing them. Obviously, we didn’t play well.

“I think we are just as good. They are a little bigger, but we are more skilled, and I wouldn’t hesitate to point that out. Bottom line is, we have to play better.”

The Tigers forced 19 turnovers, but shot just 26-for-77 from the field (33.8%), 5-for-23 from beyond the arc (21.7%) and 11-for-20 from the free throw line (55%). Booker was held to just nine points, while Rivers and Oglesby led Clemson in scoring with 15 apiece. Stitt was the only other Tiger in double figures with 13 points.

The Tigers did collect 21 offensive rebounds, however, and Purnell said if a few of those put backs had gone in, it might have been a different story.

“I thought we should have made a few more of the second shots,” Purnell said. “I thought we did a tremendous job on the offensive glass. We didn’t capitalize on them, and we left a lot points on the floor, or in the lane and from the free throw line. We needed those versus this kind of team in this kind of game.”

Now the Tigers will turn their attention to North Carolina, who they play next Wednesday in Chapel Hill in a 9 o’clock game televised by ESPN, and Oglesby said he thinks the Tigers will be ready.

“I am hurting right now,” Oglesby said. “But, about three hours from now I am going to forget about it and we are going to start preparing. I am going to get some film on Greer and Ellington as well as Lawson and their wing players. We just have to move forward.”

News and Notes from Wake Forest’s 78-68 win over the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

*Going into the contest, the Tigers had won 16 consecutive games, and a victory would have given them a tie for the longest winning streak in Clemson history. The Tigers had also won 16 consecutive home games, but now need to start new streaks. The next home game is next Sunday when they host Georgia Tech.

*Saturday’s game was just the fifth matchup of two Top 10 teams in the history of Littlejohn Coliseum, the first since 1996-97. Clemson is now 3-2 in those games.

*Trevor Booker’s short jumper early in the second half gave him 1001 points in his Clemson career.

*K.C. Rivers had a chance to become the winningest player in Clemson history with a victory over the Demon Deacons. He had now played in 84 wins, the same total as Cliff Hammonds (2004-08) and Elden Campbell (1986-90). His next chance will be Wednesday at North Carolina. He has also played in 26 ACC wins, just six short of the Clemson record.


VISITORS: Wake Forest 16-0, 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
01 Aminu, Al-Farouq.... f  6-10   0-1    0-0    1  9 10   3  12  1  3  4  1  33
23 Johnson, James...... f  7-10   0-1    5-6    1  7  8   3  19  1  1  3  3  33
13 McFarland, Chas..... c  2-7    0-0    0-0    4  8 12   1   4  3  2  2  0  32
00 Teague, Jeff........ g  5-12   1-4   13-18   0  2  2   2  24  5  5  1  2  35
42 Williams, L.D....... g  4-7    1-2    2-2    1  2  3   3  11  2  2  1  0  30
02 Clark, Gary.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
04 Hale, Harvey........    0-1    0-1    2-2    0  1  1   0   2  0  0  0  1   7
10 Smith, Ishmael......    2-7    0-0    0-0    2  1  3   0   4  4  4  0  0  15
44 Weaver, David.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   3   0  0  1  0  0   6
55 Woods, Tony.........    1-2    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   3   2  0  1  0  0   8
   TEAM................                         2  4  6
   Totals..............   27-56   2-9   22-28  12 36 48  18  78 16 19 11  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-28 42.9%   2nd Half: 15-28 53.6%   Game: 48.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-3   0.0%   2nd Half:  2-6  33.3%   Game: 22.2%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-10 80.0%   2nd Half: 14-18 77.8%   Game: 78.6%    5


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson 16-1, 2-1
                          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  6-13   2-6    1-2    4  2  6   1  15  1  1  0  0  32
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  3-9    0-1    3-5    2  6  8   2   9  2  0  5  1  35
12 Sykes, Raymond...... c  3-11   0-0    2-5    4  2  6   3   8  0  3  1  1  26
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  6-11   0-3    1-3    1  0  1   5  13  3  4  2  5  28
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  5-12   3-8    2-3    0  2  2   2  15  1  0  0  0  29
05 Smith, Tanner.......    0-4    0-2    0-0    1  3  4   2   0  3  1  0  2  12
11 Young, Andre........    0-3    0-2    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  1  1  0  0  12
15 Potter, David.......    2-6    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   5   4  0  0  0  1  10
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
45 Grant, Jerai........    1-8    0-0    2-2    7  2  9   1   4  0  0  1  0  15
   TEAM................                         1  1  2             1
   Totals..............   26-77   5-23  11-20  21 18 39  21  68 11 11  9 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-35 25.7%   2nd Half: 17-42 40.5%   Game: 33.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-10 20.0%   2nd Half:  3-13 23.1%   Game: 21.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  7-12 58.3%   2nd Half:  4-8  50.0%   Game: 55.0%    3


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Officials: Bryan Kersey, Ray Natili, Raymond Styons
Technical fouls: Wake Forest-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 10000
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Wake Forest...................   32   46  -   78
Clemson.......................   27   41  -   68

Points in the paint-WF 48,CU 32. Points off turnovers-WF 8,CU 15.
2nd chance points-WF 14,CU 14. Fast break points-WF 18,CU 4.
Bench points-WF 8,CU 8. Score tied-7 times. Lead changed-10 times.
Last FG-WF 2nd-01:38, CU 2nd-00:25.
Largest lead-WF by 14 2nd-17:14, CU by 4 1st-09:08.

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