Tigers Deliver First ACC Win, 72-69


by - Correspondent -
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Ray Henderson dunks the ball over NCSU's Kenny Inge.

CLEMSON - Clemson won't be called a coach-killer anytime soon, but any post-mortem done when Herb Sendek's days at N.C. State are over will likely include a few paragraphs about his games against the Tigers.

Clemson (10-6 overall, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated N.C. State (8-6, 0-3) for the fifth time in six tries, this time a 72-69 win in front of 6,000 Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Sendek needed to beat Clemson as much as Clemson coach Larry Shyatt needed to beat N.C. State. Afterward, it was Shyatt that was talking about the future.

"This is a team we have evolving over the next three to four years into a very good team," said Shyatt, who saw his strategy of packing his defense into the paint work to perfection.

Sendek, who didn't talk much about anything after the game, saw his team's chances end when Anthony Grundy was called for a walk on his way to the basket with 5.6 seconds left and the Wolfpack down by two.

"The just really played it close to the basket," said Sendek. "If we were going to be effective we were going to have to do it over the top."

It was interesting, however, that N.C. State tried to tie the game by driving into the paint.

The Wolfpack, down by as many as nine in the second half, rallied behind two 3-pointers by Scooter Sherrill. Sherrill's 3-pointer with 2:15 left pulled N.C. State within two (67-65).

Clemson still led by two after two free throws by N.C. State's Clifford Crawford with 53 seconds left. Will Solomon missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left and N.C. State called a timeout with 16.1 seconds left to set up its final shot.

Grundy, who missed all but six of 27 shots against the Tigers, drove the left side of the lane and was called for a walk.

Solomon missed one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds left, but Damon Thornton's 25-foot attempt at the buzzer came up short.

"We had some young people that grew up today," said Shyatt. "We planned on them growing up in a league of giants."

Clemson must seem like a giant to Sendek, who wasn't able to solve Clemson's defense.

The Wolfpack shot 32 percent from the field, 25 percent from 3-point range. Grundy came into the game shooting 49 percent from the field, but made just four of 14 3-point attempts.

"We kept four guys in the paint and wanted to encourage jump shots," said Shyatt.

Clemson, which trailed by six early in the second half, tied the game, 45-45, on a 15-footer by Solomon with 12:05 left. Grundy missed five shots over the next six minutes as the Tigers built a 60-52 lead.

N.C. State played without its biggest 3-point threat, Archie Miller, and to Shyatt it was simple arithmetic that made his decision to pack the paint easy.

"You take Archie Miller out and these guys are at 34 percent on 3-pointers," said Shyatt.

Solomon led Clemson with 29 points while forward Kenny Ingle led N.C. State with 19. Grundy added 17, but it wasn't enough to help Sendek.

"We missed free throws and open shots and didn't have a good night from the field at all," said Sendek.


BOX SCORE

CLEMSON 72, North Carolina State 69


NORTH CAROLINA STATE (8-6)

Wilkins 1-10 5-8 7, Inge 7-9 4-5 19, Kelly 0-2 0-0 0, Grundy 6-27
1-2 17, Crawford 2-4 4-6 9, Thornton 1-4 1-2 3, Sherrill 3-9 2-2
10, Guidry 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 0-0 2-3 2, Marcus 0-1 2-4 2.
Totals 20-67 21-32 69.

CLEMSON (10-6)

Clifton 4-6 0-0 9, Hobbs 4-7 2-5 10, Henderson 3-7 2-4 8, Solomon
8-19 11-14 29, Scott 3-7 4-4 10, Stockman 0-2 0-0 0, McKnight 1-2
0-0 3, Braddick 0-2 2-2 2, Nagys 0-1 1-5 1, Bains 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals 23-54 22-34 72.

Halftime-Clemson 29, NC State 27. 3-Point goals-NC State 8-32
(Wilkins 0-6, Inge 1-1, Grundy 4-14, Crawford 1-3, Sherrill 2-7,
Guidry 0-1), Clemson 4-15 (Clifton 1-1, Solomon 2-10, Scott 0-1,
McKnight 1-2, Bains 0-1). Fouled out-Thornton, Nagys. Rebounds-NC
State 48 (Inge 12), Clemson 39 (Hobbs 11). Assists-NC State 11
(Wilkins 4), Clemson 11 (Hobbs, Scott 3). Total fouls-NC State
27, Clemson 24.

A-10,000.

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