Rivers, Tigers Fly Past Mountaineers
CLEMSON - K.C. Rivers came off the bench to score 24 points Friday night, leading Clemson to an easy 79-49 victory over visiting Appalachian State.
The win pushes the Tigers' record to 5-0 to start the season, and was the 50th victory for Oliver Purnell as Clemson's head coach.
The Mountaineers fall to 1-1.
Rivers' output was a career high, as was his 6-of-9 night from behind the 3-point line. Afterwards, he said he had an inclination this might be a good shooting night.
"Before the game started I told (assistant) coach (Ron) Bradley I wanted to shoot some early," said Rivers. "I shot about 60-70 shots even before shoot around. He said if it felt good to let it go, so I let it go."
Rivers, who seems to be flourishing in the sixth man role, has become a major cog in Purnell's machine so far this season.
"He's just been so very solid for us this year. He's a big shot-maker for us, and at the same time has to give us some backup point minutes and do the job defensively," said Purnell. "He hasn't hesitated with the sixth man role...He's a student of the game. We feel like his knowledge of the game is outstanding and keeps growing."
Rivers was backed up in the scoring column by Trevor Booker's 15 points and Vernon Hamilton's 13. Booker shot 7-of-9 from the field, including four dunks, and complimented his performance with three blocked shots and three rebounds.
It was enough to impress Rivers.
"Booker's a man-child, in my opinion," he said. "He's making me smile every day and he's helping (James) Mays out even more (in the post). That's more beef down there now."
The outcome was never in doubt. Clemson ran off the game's first 11 points and took off from there. Purnell's calling card, full-court pressure, helped set the tempo. By the time the first half was done the Tigers had bolted to a 37-15 lead and never looked back.
Clemson limited ASU to just 30 percent (19-of-63) shooting, including 8-of-23 (35 percent) from the 3-point line. The pressure defense helped force 18 turnovers, while Clemson's size advantage led to a 46-32 rebounding advantage.
"I was very concerned how we would come out after being a little sluggish the other night. This was our fifth game in a week, and this is a team returning five starters with a lot of experience," Purnell said.
"But we were very aggressive and very energized in our pressure. And when we they broke the pressure, we got back and did what we were supposed to do according to our scouting report - get out on their three-point shooters and make them put the ball on the floor."
D.J. Thompson led ASU with 14 points. Nathan Cranford added 11.