College Basketball: Clemson 71, Charlotte 70
CHARLOTTE ó K.C. Rivers scored a go-ahead layup with 43.2 seconds to help Clemson beat Charlotte 71-70 on Saturday night.
Rivers added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers (5-0), who led by as many as eight points early in the second half. Demontez Stitt finished with 16 points for Clemson.
Stitt overcame foul problems and two damaging turnovers in the final three minutes by hitting four free throws, the last two coming with 16.4 seconds left to stake Clemson to a 71-67 lead.
“I knew they were ready to play,” said Stitt, who played high school ball at Butler High School in nearby Matthews. “I thought I played well in spurts, but toward the end of the game I had a couple of mistakes that I shouldn’t have had.
“We knew it was going to be hostile here ó I knew how the crowd would be ó and they took us to the wire.”
Clemson pulled ahead 50-42 with less than 15 minutes remaining in the game, but the 49ers (2-3) tied the score at 67 on Charlie Coley’s follow dunk with 1:01 remaining.
After Rivers’ layup and Stitt’s free throws put the Tigers back in front, Lamont Mack nailed a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining to pull Charlotte within 71-70.
The 49ers then had a chance to win the game after Clemson’s Terrence Oglesby lost the inbound play, but Trevor Booker blocked Mack’s layup and DiJuan Harris missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we had great effort,” Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz said. “We did everything we could to win the game … but the foul line was a huge difference.”
Ian Andersen hit seven 3-pointers to score a career-high 21 points for the 49ers (1-3), who shot just 36.8 percent from the free throw line, including just 3-of-11 in the second half. Mack scored 14 points and Phil Jones added 10.