Tigers get big game from Grant and end losing streak


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – With point guard Demontez sitting on the bench in street clothes for the second straight game and star forward Trevor Booker struggling from the effects of the flu, the Clemson Tigers needed one of their role players to step up.

Jerai Grant stepped up and more, scoring a career-high 18 points, snagged a career-high 12 rebounds and even threw in a career-tying five blocks for good measure as the 21st-ranked Tigers (16-6 overall, 4-4 ACC) ended a three-game ACC losing streak by knocking off first-place Maryland (14-6, 4-2) 62-53 at Littlejohn Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

Booker, who finished with 10 points despite a 2-for-16 shooting effort, snared a season-high16 rebounds in the win, but scored nine of those 10 points down the stretch for the Tigers. The game was an ugly affair that saw both teams shoot below 35% from the field. Clemson shot just 31.9 percent (22-for-69), the worst shooting percentage in a Clemson win since 1997.

Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell lauded the play of Grant and Clemson’s overall defensive effort.
“I’m happy with the win; it’s a big one for us,” Purnell said. “I thought our team did a good job of adjusting to who we are. If we continue to rebound and defend like that, we’ll be awfully good. We have to be a better defensive team than we had been coming into tonight. We came up with some big plays in the second half to preserve the win.

“You have to guard to have a chance to win the game, and we were an excellent defensive team tonight. Clearly tonight, that was the name of the game. And Jerai had an excellent game offensively, opposite Booker. They made a conscious decision to take Booker away, and when that happens, if you are playing opposite him, you have to make sure you get to the basket and do it every time, and Jerai finished.”

The Tigers started out on fire, jumping out to a quick 13-4 lead just 2 ½ minutes into the game. Tanner Smith and Andre Young each hit 3-points during the run. The Terrapins came back to tie the score at 16 with 10:35 remaining in the half, but the Tigers went back up by seven at 23-16 on a Devin Booker layup.

The Terrapins closed to within three at 23-20, but the Tigers kept the defensive clamps on the Terrapins and led 29-22 at the break. Trevor Booker, fighting the effects of the flu, only had one point in the half, and didn’t score that point until 2:24 remained in the half.

Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez, who came into the game averaging 17.8 points per contest, got into foul trouble early and was limited to just 10 minutes and two points.

The Terrapins used frequent trips to the foul line, going 13-for-15 at one point, to eventually take their first lead, at 48-46, of the second half.

Booker tied it at 48 on a short jumper with just over seven minutes remaining, and then put Clemson up for good, 52-51, with two foul shots at the 5:25 mark of the second half.

Booker then nailed his first 3-pointer in nine games, with 3:23 remaining, giving Clemson a 57-53 advantage and the Tigers were able to cruise the rest of the way as the Terrapins did not score in the last four minutes.

Maryland head coach Gary Williams said the difference was the play of Clemson’s defense and Clemson’s rebounding margin. The Tigers led 46-41 in overall rebounds, but owned a 20-6 advantage ion the offensive boards.

“Clemson’s defense was good tonight,” Williams said. “We just got outrebounded. Neither team shot the ball well and offensive rebounding was a factor. They turned the ball over less than we did. Clemson just played hard and rallied without Stitt. We did some good things, such as guarding Trevor Booker, but then he hit that big three.”

Grant said he knew that he would have to step up his game with Booker and Stitt both ailing, and the Maryland native said he enjoys any win against the Terrapins.”

“It just came from focus and it starts in practice,” Grant said. “I realized I needed to step up my game and score more points and help the team. Basically, I knew when I went over my average in the first half I was having a good game. But beating Maryland is special because they didn’t recruit me. Demontez told me that they would need me and that I needed to step. With Demontez on the bench, we need scoring.”

The Tigers get a chance to get well with a week off, not playing again until next Sunday in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech.

**Point guard Andre Young did yeoman’s work again, playing 37 minutes and scoring 12 points. He also added seven steals.

**Vasquez came into the game as Maryland’s leading scorer at 17.8 points per game, but was held to 10 points. Landon Milbourne was Maryland’s second leading scorer at 14.8 points per game, but was held to just three points.

**The Terrapins made only one field goal in the last 8:17 of the game. That field goal was a 3-pointer by Eric Hayes at the 4:06 mark, and was also the last Maryland points of the afternoon.

**Grant’s previous career high in points was 14, against East Carolina in January last year. His previous career high for rebounds was nine, set against Gardner-Webb, also last season.


VISITORS: Maryland 14-6, 4-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Milbourne, Landon... f  1-8    0-1    1-1    1  4  5   2   3  0  1  2  1  34
14 Mosley, Sean........ f  3-8    0-0    2-2    2  3  5   4   8  1  3  1  4  28
20 Williams, Jordan.... c  4-5    0-0    5-6    1 12 13   2  13  1  4  2  2  34
05 Hayes, Eric......... g  4-7    1-4    2-2    1  1  2   4  11  2  5  0  0  33
21 Vasquez, Greivis.... g  3-11   1-3    3-4    0  3  3   4  10  2  9  0  2  29
22 Bowie, Adrian.......    0-4    0-0    2-2    0  1  1   2   2  2  1  1  1  17
24 Tucker, Cliff.......    1-5    0-2    0-0    1  1  2   0   2  0  0  0  0  13
33 Gregory, Dino.......    2-4    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   4   4  0  3  1  0  12
   TEAM................                         2  5  7
   Totals..............   18-52   2-10  15-17   8 33 41  22  53  8 26  7 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-27 37.0%   2nd Half:  8-25 32.0%   Game: 34.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-5   0.0%   2nd Half:  2-5  40.0%   Game: 20.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-2  100 %   2nd Half: 13-15 86.7%   Game: 88.2%   2,1


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HOME TEAM: Clemson 16-6, 4-4
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
15 Potter, David....... f  2-7    2-7    0-0    0  0  0   4   6  4  2  2  1  25
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  2-16   1-4    5-6    7  9 16   2  10  4  2  2  2  33
45 Grant, Jerai........ c  7-11   0-0    4-7    3  9 12   2  18  0  3  4  1  32
05 Smith, Tanner....... g  3-10   1-4    1-5    0  4  4   3   8  2  3  0  1  35
11 Young, Andre........ g  4-10   1-5    3-4    1  2  3   3  12  3  5  0  7  37
01 Johnson, Noel.......    1-9    0-1    0-0    2  1  3   2   2  1  2  0  0  23
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0   1
24 Jennings, Milton....    1-3    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   0   2  0  2  0  1   6
31 Booker, Devin.......    2-3    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   0   4  0  1  0  0   7
32 Hill, Donte.........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM................                         5  1  6
   Totals..............   22-69   5-22  13-22  20 26 46  17  62 14 21  8 13 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-37 29.7%   2nd Half: 11-32 34.4%   Game: 31.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-15 26.7%   2nd Half:  1-7  14.3%   Game: 22.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-7  42.9%   2nd Half: 10-15 66.7%   Game: 59.1%    2


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Officials: Bryan Kersey, Les Jones, Pat Driscoll
Technical fouls: Maryland-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 10000
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Maryland......................   22   31  -   53
Clemson.......................   29   33  -   62

Points in the paint-MD 28,CU 34. Points off turnovers-MD 17,CU 26.
2nd chance points-MD 12,CU 13. Fast break points-MD 8,CU 12.
Bench points-MD 8,CU 8. Score tied-4 times. Lead changed-2 times.
Last FG-MD 2nd-04:06, CU 2nd-03:23.
Largest lead-MD by 2 2nd-08:20, CU by 11 2nd-15:25.

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