Tigers Escape Tallahassee

Four days after the Clemson basketball team sustained its worst home loss in over 50 years, the Tigers rebounded literally and figuratively with to get the 56-54 victory Wednesday night at Florida State. <BR>

Box Score | 2004-05 Schedule

The Seminoles' Von Wafer, who entered the game as his team's leading scorer, missed a 3-point shot from the corner as time expired to ensure just the fourth ACC road win for Clemson in its last 50 attempts.

"It's an important win for us, especially coming off one of our worst outings of the season against Wake Forest," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "It was an important win for us for a number of reasons."

Clemson improves to 10-5 overall and 1-2 in the ACC, while the Seminoles fall to 9-7 and 1-2 in the ACC.

The biggest difference between the win against Florida State and the whipping from Wake Forest was in rebounding. Against the Demon Deacons, Eric Williams and his teammates dominated down low.

However, against the Seminoles, Clemson was the team that controlled the boards, gaining an 18-5 advantage on the offensive end.

Of course, the reason the Tigers got so many second chances was because they missed their initial shots. But as long as you score, it doesn't matter how many times it takes to do it.

Clemson shot just 35.7 percent from the field and was a woeful 6-of-22 from 3-point range. The free throws continued to be a problem as well as the Tigers connected on just 10-of-18 attempts.

"We weren't pretty, but we were aggressive and that aggressiveness allowed us to persevere," Purnell said. "This is a confidence thing."

The Tigers trailed by as many as eight in the first half and it looked as though their woes at Florida State would continue. Clemson was just 2-11 in Tallahassee since the Seminoles joined the conference.

But the Tigers roared back and actually held a 27-26 lead at halftime.

The continued their hot play in the second half, opening up a lead of nine points, which proved to be just enough to hold off Florida State.

"We hung in there and had a little spurt in the first half," Purnell said. "And in the second half, our offense finally caught fire and that was our working margin the rest of the game."

Guard Cliff Hammonds led the Tigers in scoring with 12 points, while Sharrod Ford bounced back with a solid game by scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, six of which came on offense. Guard Shawan Robinson added 10 points for Clemson, but his shooting woes continued as he was just 3-of-11 from the field.

What was also key for the Tigers was that Hammonds and Robinson combined for just one turnover in 69 minutes of play.

Florida State was paced by Alexander Johnson with 20 points. No other player for the Seminoles scored more than five.

Clemson travels Saturday to Virginia Tech (7-6, 0-2 ACC), where the Tigers will look to even their conference record and improve their hopes for postseason play. Game time is at noon.

Clemson (10-5): Ford 5-11 1-4 11, Babalola 3-8 1-2 8, Moore 0-4 0-0 0, Robinson 3-11 2-2 10, Hammonds 4-8 2-2 12, Hamilton 3-6 0-0 7, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Hudson 0-0 0-0 0, Perry 1-1 2-2 4, Akingbala 1-5 2-6 4, Mays 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 10-18 56.

Florida State (9-7) Johnson 5-7 9-11 20, Waleskowksi 2-5 1-2 5, Galloway 1-4 2-4 4, Wilson 1-2 0-0 3, Wafer 2-8 0-0 5, Swann 1-1 1-2 3, Mims 1-2 0-0 2, Thornton 1-1 0-0 2, Rich 2-4 1-2 5, Romero 0-0 0-0 0, Richardson 1-2 2-2 5. Totals 17-36 16-23 54.

Halftime — Clemson 27-26. 3-Point goals — Clemson 6-22 (Hammonds 2-4, Robinson 2-8, Babaloa 1-3, Allen 1-3, Moore 0-4); Florida State 4-13 (Wafer 1-6, Wilson 1-2, Johnson 1-1, Richardson 1-1, Waleskowski 0-1, Galloway 0-1, Rich 0-1). Fouled out — Ford. Rebounds — Clemson 35 (Ford 12); Florida State 25 (Johnson, Waleskowski, Richardson, Wafer 3). Assists — Clemson 12(Moore 4); Florida State 7 (Swann 2). Technicals — Waleskowski; Ford. Total fouls — Clemson 20; Florida State 17. Attendance — 7,293.

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