Tigers Equal School-Record Start With Victory Over Wolfpack

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RALEIGH, N.C. - Vernon Hamilton scored 21 points and No. 17 Clemson beat North Carolina State 87-76 on Tuesday night to match the best start in school history and remain the only unbeaten team in Division I.

The Tigers (17-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot nearly 56 percent and used a 15-3 run which bridged halftime to equal the school records for best start and longest winning streak.

K.C. Rivers and James Mays both added 16 points for Clemson, which also started 17-0 in 1986-87.

Gavin Grant had 22 points and Ben McCauley added 15 for outmanned N.C. State (10-6, 0-3), which lost its second straight since a three-game winning streak against non-conference foes.

The Wolfpack opened ACC play with three losses for the first time since 1999-2000, when they went on to finish 5-11 in the conference.

Clemson improved to 28-0 with Mays in the lineup. He led the Tigers to an 11-0 start last season before he was declared academically ineligible, and the team went on to lose 10 of 13 games.

Clemson took the lead for good early Tuesday, held a comfortable advantage for much of the way and took command shortly after N.C. State closed within 37-36 in the final moments of the first half.

Rivers started the run when his 3-pointer with 26 seconds left made it 40-36.

Then, Cliff Hammonds and Hamilton started the second half with consecutive 3s to key the decisive spurt, which was capped when Mays' putback dunk made it 52-39 with 16:35 to play. N.C. State didn't get closer than six points the rest of the way.

Dennis Horner and Brandon Costner both had 14 points for the Wolfpack.

Clemson ended a four-game losing streak in Raleigh, and won at the RBC Center for the first time since a 66-63 victory on Feb. 27, 2000. N.C. State entered having won eight of the previous nine meetings with Clemson.

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