Balalola Sparks Tigers Past Buckeyes

CLEMSON – This is exactly what Clemson coach Oliver Purnell had in mind when he had a little discussion Monday with forward Olu Babalola about his future and role on the team.

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Purnell told him in order to be reinstated to the team following a two-game suspension he wanted to see enthusiasm, athleticism and experience displayed at all times by the senior.

Babalola agreed to the conditions and it was shown in spades against Ohio State as he lifted the play of his teammates to get the 80-73 victory over the Buckeyes Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Babalola came off the bench to score 17 points and grab eight rebounds, four of which were on the offensive end, in just 25 minutes of playing time. He even hit a couple of key 3-pointers, including one that tied the game at 65-65 with 4:10 left to play.

"I think Olu played great for us," Tigers center Sharrod Ford said. "I think he was the key for us. He's an energy guy. I think if we get that every night from him, well be alright."

Clemson improves to 3-1 overall, while Ohio State drops to 5-2.

"From my standpoint, I didn't want to give off negative energy," he said. "I just wanted to be more aggressive on offense, but I didn't want to force things. I'm not expecting to score big every night."

Babalola's energy was exactly the ingredient that was missing in Clemson's loss Friday at Boston College.

"We played with tremendous aggression, something that we lacked in the Boston College game, and we played well defensively," Purnell said. "In the Boston College game, we gave up too many layups and short shots … so tonight we stopped their layups and forced them to play outside."

The Tigers used torrid outside shooting – 9-of-15 from 3-point range – and solid inside play on the inside from Ford, who scored a team-high 20 points, to spoil the return of former Clemson player Tony Stockman.

Clemson's Cliff Hammonds and Shawan Robinson each added 14 points.

The Buckeyes were paced by Stockman with 22 points, only six of which came in the second half.

Ohio State can thank its outside shooting for the main reason they were able to hang with the Tigers.

At one point in the second half, Ohio State's Ivan Harris was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and as a team the Buckeyes were a blistering 13-of-20 from beyond the arc.

This helped Ohio State grab a five-point lead late in the second half, but the Tigers stormed back to retake the lead at 68-65 on a Robinson 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:35 left to play.

That came on the heels of a Babalola's game-tying 3-pointer.

The outside shooting eventually went cold for Ohio State and the Tigers' steady play enabled them to pull away in the final moments.

At the start of the second half, Clemson quickly established itself and grabbed a 45-38 lead with 17:30 left to play. It was the biggest lead had all game.

In the first half, Stockman led the Buckeyes to a 36-35 lead at halftime.

Stockman hit his first six shot attempts, which included four 3-pointer, to score 16 points in the first half. The next highest scorer for Ohio State was seven points by Terence Dials.

The Buckeyes jumped to a 10-point lead in the first half, but they failed to score a field goal over the last 3:44. As a result Clemson was able to chip away at the lead to only trail by one at intermission.

"Olu just broke it wide open for us," Robinson said. "The game was inside-out tonight and that's what it's going to take for us to win."

Clemson's next game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at rival South Carolina, and will be televised on Fox Sports Net South.

"In about a half hour, it will be the most important game of the year," Purnell said some 30 minutes following his team's most important win of the season.


VISITORS: Ohio State 5-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
00 J.J. Sullinger...... f  1-5    0-1    2-2    1  2  3   2   4  3  2  0  2  25
03 Ivan Harris......... f  5-9    5-9    0-0    0  2  2   3  15  2  2  2  0  33
34 Terence Dials....... c  5-8    0-0    1-2    1  5  6   3  11  0  2  1  1  35
02 Brandon Fuss-Cheatha g  5-10   4-5    0-0    0  3  3   5  14  0  4  0  0  27
10 Tony Stockman....... g  9-15   4-5    0-0    1  4  5   3  22  2  3  0  3  35
14 Jamar Butler........    1-3    1-2    0-0    0  2  2   0   3  4  2  0  3  13
21 Jermyl Jackson-Wilso    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  1   2
23 Je'Kel Foster.......    1-5    1-3    1-2    0  2  2   1   4  1  1  0  2  21
40 Matt Sylvester......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  1  1  0  0   8
42 Matt Terwilliger....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  0  0  0   1
   TEAM................                         2     2
   Totals..............   27-56  15-25   4-6    5 22 27  21  73 13 17  3 12 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-25 52.0%   2nd Half: 14-31 45.2%   Game: 48.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-13 53.8%   2nd Half:  8-12 66.7%   Game: 60.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-4  75.0%   2nd Half:  1-2  50.0%   Game: 66.7%    2

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HOME TEAM: Clemson Tigers 3-1
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Sharrod Ford........ f  6-14   0-0    8-11   4  6 10   2  20  1  4  5  0  32
15 Cheyenne Moore...... f  1-7    1-4    0-0    1  1  2   3   3  1  3  0  2  27
33 Akin Akingbala...... c  3-4    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   6  0  1  0  0  15
03 Vernon Hamilton..... g  1-5    0-1    0-0    0  2  2   1   2  1  2  0  0  19
22 Shawan Robinson..... g  4-7    2-2    4-4    0  2  2   1  14  8  3  0  2  31
04 Steve Allen.........    1-1    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   0   2  0  0  0  0   2
12 Olu Babalola........    4-7    2-3    7-9    4  4  8   1  17  1  2  1  1  25
21 Jimmy Hudson........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  1   2
25 Cliff Hammonds......    5-7    4-5    0-0    0  6  6   1  14  4  1  0  2  31
32 Sam Perry...........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   8
44 James Mays..........    1-2    0-0    0-2    1  2  3   0   2  0  0  0  0   8
   TEAM................                         2     2
   Totals..............   26-56   9-15  19-26  13 24 37  11  80 16 16  6  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-29 41.4%   2nd Half: 14-27 51.9%   Game: 46.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-7  57.1%   2nd Half:  5-8  62.5%   Game: 60.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  7-11 63.6%   2nd Half: 12-15 80.0%   Game: 73.1%    2

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Officials: Brian Kersey, Ray Natilie, Les Jones
Technical fouls: Ohio State-None. Clemson Tigers-None.
Attendance: 7800
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Ohio State....................   36   37  -   73
Clemson Tigers................   35   45  -   80
ID-284386

Points in the paint-OSU 23,CU 26. Points off turnovers-OSU 14,CU 21.
2nd chance points-OSU 7,CU 18. Fast break points-OSU 7,CU 2.
Bench points-OSU 7,CU 35. Score tied-10 times. Lead changed-4 times.
Last FG-OSU 2nd-00:25, CU 2nd-01:59.

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