Tigers Improve Winning Streak to 14


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON - A new year brought out the same result for the Clemson basketball team.

The 16th-ranked Tigers got 14 big points from sophomore Jerai Grant and made enough plays down the stretch to hold off a pesky East Carolina squad 79-66 in Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, improving to 14-0 for the second time in three seasons.

"Obviously, we're pleased to get to 14-0 against an ECU team that gave us problems, particularly shooting the three-ball," Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. "In the second half, we were able to get a few stops in a row and we got the lead out to a working margin. Then we were able to get the ball inside, and I thought we did a good job of that."

The Pirates held the Tigers close early in the contest as Clemson struggled with their field goal shooting, holding just a 15-13 lead with a little over 14 minutes remaining in the half, when senior captain K.C. Rivers and freshman Tanner Smith each hit a pair of three pointers that propelled the Tigers on a 17-3 run, eventually pushing the lead to 32-16.

East Carolina battled back to trim their deficit to 41-35 at the intermission, but the Clemson defense then held the Pirates scoreless for a six minute stretch in the second half that allowed them to build out a 68-48 lead, and Purnell was able to give his reserves playing time as they prepare for Alabama on Tuesday.

"You're always concerned when you have a game like this sandwiched between games against bigger-name opponents," Purnell said. "We we did a good job on the offensive glass in stretches, we were active inside, and took care of the basketball pretty well."

The Tigers are just one of five unbeaten teams remaining in Division I, who in addition to Grant's career-high 14 points, got 18 from Rivers, 13 points from center Trevor Booker and 10 points from Terrence Oglesby.

Clemson also committed just six turnovers, their fewest in six seasons under Purnell, and got eight big points from Smith and four from Bobo Baciu.

"Jerai played well, Andre (Young) played well, Tanner played well, I thought Bobo
played well for a short stretch there, Purnell said. "It's important because we want to play nine or 10 guys."

Rivers said he thought this team is finally starting to show the nation how good they can be, even after losing several important pieces from last season.

"Everybody thought we weren't going to be as good as we are, but we're turning a lot of heads," Rivers said. "But we've got to keep it up. We've been motivated since the beginning of the year and we want to go above and beyond. This team's capable of a lot of things."

East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy said he knew how tough the Tigers were going to be.

"Clemson's got nice pieces," McCarthy said. "They've done a really nice job of putting together a plan that is balanced. They can beat you inside, they can beat you outside, and they can spread you and beat you on the dribble, too.

"They have a lot of answers and the players complement each other really well. Rivers and Stitt are both good players and the post players are doing a great job. Purnell has done a great job of coaching and putting together a team that really balances each other out."

Now, the Tigers will face Alabama on Tuesday night in Littlejohn Coliseum, at 9 p.m. in a game that will be televised by FSN South. The Tide have won five in a row, including last Saturday's impressive 88-77 win over the Georgia Tech, and Purnell said he thinks the Tigers will be ready.

"We're playing an excellent Alabama team next," Purnell said. "(Ronald) Steele and (Alonzo) Gee are as good as we've faced. We've won on the road in the ACC, we've won on the road in the Big Ten, we've won on the road in the SEC, so I'm not worried about it."


VISITORS: East Carolina 8-5
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
21 Abrams, Jamar....... f  5-6    3-4    0-0    0  3  3   4  13  0  1  0  0  21
33 Wynn, Chad.......... f  4-9    0-0    0-0    6  6 12   3   8  0  2  1  0  32
02 Legan, James........ g  6-12   5-10   4-4    0  3  3   1  21  0  1  0  1  31
04 Hinnant, Sam........ g  3-12   2-8    0-0    0  0  0   3   8  2  5  0  0  33
10 Young, Brock........ g  4-8    0-0    3-4    0  5  5   0  11 10  3  0  2  34
01 Morrow, Darius......    2-4    0-0    1-2    1  2  3   2   5  0  1  1  0  27
15 Turner, Chris.......    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  1  1  0  0  12
24 Sherrod, Jontae.....    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   3   0  0  1  0  0  10
   TEAM................                         3  3  6
   Totals..............   24-55  10-24   8-10  10 23 33  16  66 13 15  2  3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-29 41.4%   2nd Half: 12-26 46.2%   Game: 43.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-14 42.9%   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 41.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-6  83.3%   2nd Half:  3-4  75.0%   Game: 80.0%    2


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Clemson 14-0
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Rivers, K.C......... f  7-17   3-9    1-2    4  2  6   1  18  1  0  1  0  31
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  5-7    1-2    2-4    2  7  9   3  13  1  1  2  1  28
12 Sykes, Raymond...... c  2-6    0-0    1-2    2  2  4   1   5  1  1  0  0  18
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  1-6    0-2    2-2    0  5  5   2   4  4  1  0  0  22
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  3-12   2-10   2-2    2  0  2   2  10  2  2  0  0  23
05 Smith, Tanner.......    3-5    2-3    0-0    0  3  3   1   8  1  0  0  2  15
10 Baciu, Catalin......    2-2    0-0    0-2    0  1  1   0   4  0  0  0  1   5
11 Young, Andre........    0-4    0-2    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  3  0  0  1  18
15 Potter, David.......    1-3    1-3    0-0    0  0  0   1   3  3  0  0  1  20
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  1  0  1  0   2
45 Grant, Jerai........    4-4    0-0    6-7    5  1  6   2  14  0  1  2  0  18
   TEAM................                         2     2
   Totals..............   28-66   9-31  14-21  17 21 38  14  79 17  6  6  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-35 40.0%   2nd Half: 14-31 45.2%   Game: 42.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-17 41.2%   2nd Half:  2-14 14.3%   Game: 29.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-7  85.7%   2nd Half:  8-14 57.1%   Game: 66.7%    5


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Officials: Mike Wood, Ray Natili, Brent Hampton
Technical fouls: East Carolina-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 8223
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
East Carolina.................   35   31  -   66
Clemson.......................   41   38  -   79

Points in the paint-ECU 26,CU 34. Points off turnovers-ECU 7,CU 23.
2nd chance points-ECU 4,CU 19. Fast break points-ECU 2,CU 6.
Bench points-ECU 5,CU 29. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-3 times.
Last FG-ECU 2nd-00:01, CU 2nd-01:41.
Largest lead-ECU by 5 1st-18:44, CU by 21 2nd-06:55.

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