ACC Basketball: Clemson 63, N.C. State 51
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2009
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Clemson coach Oliver Purnell screamed so much at practice Friday that he lost his voice.
What was the fuss about? “Defense,” Tiger forward Trevor Booker said.
That figures given that a swarming, pressure-packed effort against the ball has kept the 12th-ranked Tigers perfect in two games this week.
The Tigers improved to 16-0 on Saturday when they used a 24-10 second-half run to break free of North Carolina State for a 63-51 win. That followed a 66-59 victory over Alabama on Tuesday, when the Tigers rallied with a 14-0 run fueled by defensive pressure.
Booker led the way against the Wolfpack with 23 points and a dominating presence underneath for the Tigers (2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“I thought our defense was the story with our ability to shut them down early and late,” said Purnell.
Clemson squandered a 10-point first-half lead and was tied with the Wolfpack (9-4, 0-1) 33-all after Trevor Ferguson’s driving bucket.
That’s when the Tigers cranked it up, outscoring North Carolina State 24-10 over the next 10 minutes to take control.
North Carolina State finished with its lowest scoring output of the season, 21 points below its average coming in.
Courtney Fells had 10 points to lead the Wolfpack, whose four defeats have come to ranked opponents.
Brandon Costner, North Carolina State’s leading scorer coming in at nearly 15 points a game, had nine points on 3-of-9 shooting before fouling out.
It was Clemson’s fourth straight victory over the Wolfpack and the second time in three seasons it has opened the ACC 2-0.
North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe was pleased with his club’s resolve in fighting through the early shooting problems. Once Clemson turned up its defense, though, he was disappointed at his team’s reaction.
“We didn’t respond the way we should’ve,” Lowe said.