Tigers win ACC home opener over Wolfpack


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON - The visiting North Carolina St. Wolfpack had just tied the game at 33 early in the second half, seemingly ready to give the 11th-ranked Clemson Tigers a typical ACC dogfight down the stretch.

Trevor Booker said not in his house, not today.

Booker scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, protecting the Littlejohn floor for the Tigers’ 16th consecutive home win, in lifting the Tigers to a 63-51 victory over the Wolfpack to improve to 16-0 on the season, 2-0 in ACC play with a huge contest looming next week.

“I am just trying to let every team know, because I know people are watching, letting them know this is our house and we are going to give it everything we have in every game,” the junior said. “The crowd gives us a boost every game, and this one of the best places to play, and we are trying to prove that now.”

Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell was proud to pick up another conference win heading into next Saturday’s showdown against Wake Forest, ranked in the top five nationally, at Littlejohn.

“I’m very pleased to get a hard-fought win today,” Purnell said. “I thought our defense was the story with our ability to shut them down early and late. I thought our press was good for early turnovers, and then again late to get a working margin. I’m pleased to get a win in our ACC home opener.”

The first half was ragged on both sides, with Clemson opening up a 6-2 lead early, then not getting their eighth point until a Tanner Smith reverse with 10:36 remaining. Clemson held the Wolfpack to just one field goal for over 11 minutes of the opening stanza, but saw a 12-3 lead evaporate as the Pack started using their size to own the offensive boards, trimming the Tiger lead to 15-10.

The Clemson defense turned the intensity back on, however, and David Potter and Booker each hit shots to expand the lead 19-10, but N.C. State crawled back to within four, at 19-15, with just over three minutes remaining.

Booker scored the last three points of the half, however, and the Tigers led 24-17 at intermission after forcing the Wolfpack into 10 turnovers and just 20.7% shooting from the field (6-for-29). The only saving grace for the Pack was Clemson’s own shooting (40%, 10-for-25) and the Packs’ 23-16 edge on the boards.

The Wolfpack came out blazing to start the second half, getting three points on four consecutive possessions to tie the score at 33, but the Clemson defense, fueled by reserves Tanner Smith, Andre Young, David Potter and Jerai Grant, helped Booker start a stretch that saw the Tigers outscore the Pack 29-14 to take a 62-47 late in the game.

“We couldn’t score the basketball,” Pack head coach Sidney Lowe said. “We turned it over 18 times and about 12 of those 18 were probably unforced. The turnovers were the difference in the ballgame. I thought those guys (Clemson) played very aggressive and played sound defense and took away our inside game. He (Booker) was much more physical than we were.”

Purnell said that Booker went back to working hard on the blocks and using his muscle, and that was the difference for his big man in the two halves.

“I thought we had an advantage there,” Purnell said.. “I thought Booker did too much fading until early in the second half. Then he went to work on the block. As long as we can get the ball down low, let’s keep doing it.”

Included in that stretch were two huge blocks by Booker, and enough highlight reel plays on defense to shut down N.C. State. Smith, the freshman out of Alpharetta, Georgia, continues to look more comfortable out on the floor, and had two big steals to help fuel the run. He also scored seven points and dished out three assists.

“I got out there and was able to get in the flow early,” Smith said. “I was able to get some steals and get some hustle plays and that was able to get me into what we were doing offensively. Then I was able to run the floor and help get my teammates open. It was a really good game for me today.”

Smith said, however, that Booker was the difference.

“He played really well, I mean, he was everywhere,” Smith said. “He was getting blocks, he was getting rebounds, he was getting steals, he was getting points. He was doing pretty much whatever he wanted to do out there. That also helps, when you’re sitting on the bench and you see a guy going all out, you want to do everything you can when you’re out there.”

Purnell said that he was proud of his team’s poise against the Wolfpack (9-4, 0-1), especially with bigger games on the horizon.

“I really liked the way we handled the approach to this game,” Purnell said. “Nobody was talking about N.C. State, everybody was talking about Wake and North Carolina. A team with less experience can get caught up in that. We can’t stop and smell the roses, because ACC teams are going to come at us.”

Booker was the only Tiger in double figures in points, but K.C. Rivers added nine points and 11 rebounds. Smith’s seven points made him the third-leading scorer.

NOTES:

Sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby’s streak of making at least one three-pointer in 23 consecutive games ended on Saturday. N.C. State played a sticky, man-to-man defense in attempting to stop Clemson’s perimeter game, and Oglesby missed his lone attempt from beyond the arc. He added two rebounds and dished out three assists, however, and was credited with a steal.

With the win, the Tigers have won 16 consecutive home games, their longest streak since a school-record 29 in a row in the Elden Campbell and Dale Davis era (1989-90). That streak is the fifth-longest in the nation (Notre Dame has won 44 in a row on their home court).

Clemson’s previous game, a 66-59 win over Alabama, was their season-low in points, but Saturday’s 63 is now the lowest point total.

K.C. Rivers moved into 10th place on Clemson’s career scoring list. He now has 1466 points, surpassing the 1463 of Tree Rollins.

I sat beside a Lakers’ scout at the game, who said that Booker will most certainly be a “no miss” prospect for the NBA. He said that Booker needs to work on his outside shot, but otherwise has the total package. “I work on that every day in practice, because I know if I can add that it will be hard to stop me,” Booker said. “I want the ball every chance I get, and if they keep feeding me, I am going to take it. I like battling against bigger players and big names. Every night I just want to bring it.”


VISITORS: NC State 9-4, 0-1
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
33 Costner, Brandon.... f  3-9    1-3    2-3    2  1  3   5   9  4  5  2  2  28
34 McCauley, Ben....... f  1-3    0-0    2-3    5  4  9   4   4  2  2  0  0  26
04 Fells, Courtney..... g  4-11   2-5    0-0    0  7  7   2  10  0  1  2  2  36
12 Degand, Farnold..... g  2-3    1-1    1-2    0  3  3   1   6  1  4  0  1  25
15 Ferguson, Trevor.... g  2-9    0-4    1-1    1  2  3   1   5  3  3  0  0  37
02 Harris, Simon.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   6
10 Gonzalez, Javier....    0-1    0-0    2-2    0  1  1   2   2  1  2  0  0   7
23 Smith, Tracy........    1-7    0-0    1-2    2  2  4   0   3  0  0  2  0  14
24 Mays, Julius........    2-7    2-3    2-2    0  0  0   1   8  1  0  0  0  11
31 Horner, Dennis......    2-4    0-2    0-0    0  2  2   3   4  0  1  0  0  10
   TEAM................                         4  3  7
   Totals..............   17-54   6-18  11-15  14 26 40  19  51 12 18  6  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  6-29 20.7%   2nd Half: 11-25 44.0%   Game: 31.5%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-7  28.6%   2nd Half:  4-11 36.4%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-4  75.0%   2nd Half:  8-11 72.7%   Game: 73.3%    2


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HOME TEAM: Clemson 16-0, 2-0
                          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  3-11   2-3    1-2    2  9 11   1   9  2  2  0  1  29
35 Booker, Trevor...... f  9-17   0-0    5-6    3  3  6   2  23  1  2  6  3  30
12 Sykes, Raymond...... c  2-4    0-0    1-1    1  3  4   2   5  0  3  2  0  23
02 Stitt, Demontez..... g  2-5    0-1    2-5    0  1  1   3   6  2  0  0  1  22
22 Oglesby, Terrence... g  1-5    0-1    1-2    0  2  2   2   3  3  2  0  1  23
05 Smith, Tanner.......    3-5    0-0    1-2    1  1  2   2   7  3  0  0  4  17
10 Baciu, Catalin......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
11 Young, Andre........    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  2  2   1   0  2  0  0  2  18
15 Potter, David.......    2-4    0-0    2-2    1  3  4   2   6  0  0  0  0  19
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
45 Grant, Jerai........    2-3    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   1   4  0  0  0  0  17
   TEAM................                         1     1
   Totals..............   24-56   2-6   13-20  10 25 35  16  63 13  9  8 12 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-25 40.0%   2nd Half: 14-31 45.2%   Game: 42.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-3  33.3%   2nd Half:  1-3  33.3%   Game: 33.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-4  75.0%   2nd Half: 10-16 62.5%   Game: 65.0%    3


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Officials: Jamie Luckie, Mike Eades, Bernard Clinton
Technical fouls: NC State-None. Clemson-None.
Attendance: 10000
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
NC State......................   17   34  -   51
Clemson.......................   24   39  -   63

Points in the paint-ST 18,CU 30. Points off turnovers-ST 2,CU 17.
2nd chance points-ST 7,CU 8. Fast break points-ST 0,CU 10.
Bench points-ST 17,CU 17. Score tied-4 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-ST 2nd-01:00, CU 2nd-05:20.
Largest lead-ST None, CU by 16 2nd-01:06.

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