Basketball: Veterans Take Charge

CLEMSON – The Clemson men's basketball team proved three things in its second game of the season – the season opener wasn't a fluke, it can still win easily even when it doesn't play its best, and that the veterans are still the leaders. <br>

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The Tigers weren't quite as sharp as last Friday, but Sharrod Ford, Vernon Hamilton and Shawan Robinson combined to score 46 points to lead Clemson to the 78-59 victory over UNC Asheville Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The three veterans showed that they still are the ones that the team turns to when crucial points are needed and the offense bogs down.

For the second straight game, Robinson led all scorers. This time he pumped in 18, while at the same time grabbing five rebounds and dishing out six assists. Ford added 16 points and six rebounds, while Hamilton had 12 points and four assists.

"This game, I kind of wanted to get in the flow and not foul so much," Ford said. "Shawan and I've got to make plays like that. If he's not going to step up, then I have to."

On this night, however, both did.

"We feed off each other," Robinson said. "If teams are going to double-team him, then I'm going to be open outside and it's just a matter of me knocking down the shots."

Shawan Robinson led all scorers with 18 points Tuesday evening.
The four freshmen – James Mays, Sam Perry, Cheyenne Moore and Cliff Hammonds – which played so well against Hampton, came back to reality just a bit as they combined to score just 22 points after the scored 39 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, had 10 assists and got eight steals last week.

Even so, the game was really never in doubt from about midway through the first half when the Tigers (2-0) went on an 18-0 run to make it 36-11 with 7:06 remaining until halftime.

"We weren't firing on five cylinders," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "Having said that, it was nice to see that we were able to get to a big lead early."

Clemson went into intermission with a 47-26 lead, even though it wasn't at the top of its game.

"After getting to the big lead, I think some of the young guys turned the switch off," Purnell said. The second half saw the Bulldogs (0-2) get as close as 70-57 with less than four minutes remaining in the game, but Clemson pushed increased its lead once again to win comfortably.

"We didn't match the intensity in the second half like we did in the first," Hamilton said. "We didn't play as well as we did against Hampton, but we still played well."

Clemson center Akin Akingbala had eight points and four blocks, while Mays had nine points.

The Bulldogs were paced by Bryan McCullough, who had 12 points, and K.J. Garland, who chipped in with 10.

The Tigers next play at 7:30 p.m., Friday at Boston College, and will be the only media outlet there from South Carolina to cover the game. Top Stories