Tigers Roll Over SC State


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --- Clemson’s men’s basketball team may or may not win the ACC this year, but one thing is for certain, the Tigers own the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.


The Tigers beat their third MEAC team of the year Wednesday, this time with a 79-38 win over South Carolina State at Littlejohn Coliseum.

“We have conquered all of them,” said a laughing Sam Perry after the game. “They’re on the schedule so we have to handle business.”

Clemson has now defeated Bethune-Cookman, Coppin State and the Bulldogs by an average of 33 points to open the season. It is the first time in the program’s history that Clemson has opened the season with three straight wins of 30 or more points.

“We have come out hungry in every game so far and that has helped things,” said Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell. “Hopefully, we can come out and play every game this year the way we have played these three.”

It was Clemson’s defense that set the tempo against S.C. State. The Tigers forced 31 turnovers and held the Bulldogs to 32.6 percent shooting. State’s 38 points were the second lowest in the program’s history, and the lowest since a 48-37 loss to Coppin State in 1990.

“They came out with an edge in the second half defensively and it came at time when we couldn’t buy a bucket,” Purnell said. “We scored just one point in the first four and half minutes of the second half, but they scored zero.

“I keep telling our guys that our defense is going to determine how far we go.”

Perry scored seven straight points early in the second half ,all of it coming off turnovers as Clemson built its biggest lead of the night at 66-25.

“Coach told us to attack them first and that’s what we did,” Perry said. “We turned up the pressure. We scored just one point, but at the same time they scored zero, so we can live with that all day.”

S.C. State’s problems scoring came a long time before they even set foot in Littlejohn.

The Bulldogs were playing without 6-foot-6 forward Thurman Zimmerman, – who is recovering from an off-season knee surgery --, top three-pointer shooter Brandon Trapp (cracked kneecap) and top recruit Gerald Carter (ACL).

“They came in here a little short handed, but that is still a team picked to win that league and I think by the end of the year they’ll probably be in a position to that,” Purnell said. “Right now, I just think we’re a little further ahead with more experience players.”

S.C. State coach Benjamin Betts said he was not going to make any excuses for the loss, except that Clemson was just the better team.

“When you play against the type of players Clemson has, you have to be able to handle the pressure and execute, and I hoped that we would have done a better job of that tonight.”

Clemson had built a 10-point lead to start the game when Shawan Robinson drained a three-pointer from the top of the key for a 12-2 lead with 15:47 to play in the first half.


The Tigers poured it on from there. Cliff Hammonds followed with back-to-back lay-ups as part of an 8-0 run, and then buried one from deep to give the Tigers a 25-8 lead. Akingbala and Perry then followed with back-to-back dunks a few minutes later, making the score 29-10 with 7:14 to go. Clemson forced 15 Bulldogs turnovers in the opening half.

Steve Allen, who Purnell said played his best game since he came to Clemson, scored 8 first half points and had four rebounds.

“I’m glad I was able to get out there and spark the club,” Allen said. “With the team we have this year, once we get that spark, we’re ready to go.”

Vernon Hamilton scored 10 points and had three assists as Clemson built a 42-18 halftime lead. The junior guard also had two block shots, while connecting on 4 of 5 shooting.



Hammonds had 9 points in the opening 20 minutes. He finished the game with 10 points, while Hamilton also scored 10 points. Perry led Clemson with 13 points, while freshman guard K.C. Rivers had a team-high 9 rebounds. S.C. State was led by Brian Mason’s 14 points.



Clemson travels to Charleston Saturday where it will face Charleston Southern. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

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