Pressure Defense Leads Tigers Past Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Clemson did its part to help the ACC in its quest for conference superiority Tuesday night, even if things did get a little interesting down the stretch.
The Tigers (5-0) used its patented pressure defense to build a 26-point lead by the midway point of the second half, then held on for a 96-88 victory at Penn State. The game was part of the Big 10/ACC Challenge.
Penn State (3-1) trailed 86-70 heading into the final two minutes, but crept to within six points(94-88) with :14 seconds to go on a 3-pointer by David Jackson. Clemson missed six free throws (10-of-16) in the final two minutes, and Jackson scored eight points during the stretch.
But Shawan Robinson hit both his shots from the charity stripe at the :12 mark after being fouled, stemming the tide and allowing Clemson to claim the victory.
Clemson's overall struggles from the free throw line continued, the Tigers hitting just 61 percent (14-of-23) on the evening.
But they more than made up for it by turning 19 Penn State turnovers into 26 points. Clemson also outscored the Nittany Lions 45-22 off the bench. The Tigers also won the statistical battle from the field (54 percent to 52 percent) and in total rebounds (34-31), while committing 17 turnovers on the evening.
Freshman Julius Powell had the best night of his young career, finishing with 16 points. He hit four 3-pointers in the contest. Robinson and Vernon Hamilton also had 16 points for the Tigers, while Akin Akingbala finished with 12 and Cliff Hammonds 10.
Penn State's Geary Claxton led all scorers with 27 points, followed by Jackson with 15 and Travis Parker with 14.
Clemson returns to action at 4 p.m. Saturday, hosting South Carolina.