Tigers Pound Pesky Terriers

CLEMSON – There are going to be nights when Trevor Booker plays and acts like a freshman, which is what he did at South Carolina. Then there are going to be those games where he looks like a star in the making, which is the way he appeared Tuesday night against Wofford.

Booker, who is definitely a man-child, powered his way to 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds and getting a block to lead the Tigers to the 90-66 blowout over a pesky Wofford team at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Clemson is now 10-0 and takes a two-week break before returning to action on Dec. 19 against Georgia Southern.

"We're exactly where we wanted to be," senior point guard Vernon Hamilton said. "This was our final exam before our real final exams. We came out and got the win. We got an A."

One of the main reasons Clemson passed this test with flying colors is because of Booker.

Booker's performance against the Terriers is in stark contrast to what he did in Columbia Saturday, where he was in constant foul trouble and scored just four points an had two turnovers.

But such is life as a freshman.

"I thought I played terrible last game at Carolina and I had to make up for it in this game," Booker said. "I'm not intimidated by anybody. I feel like I can dominate anybody when I play my game."

Booker is the most muscular player on the team and his broad shoulders and impressive vertical leap make him a presence to be dealt with on both ends of the court.

He cites his physical and massive build as to why he seems to be more adaptive to the college game than nearly all freshmen playing at this level.

The Terriers (4-6) had nary an answer on how to handle or deal with Booker.

"He was playing against (Class 2A) Crescent High School (in Iva, S.C.) at this time last year," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "He is playing his face off."

With the Terriers not having any sort of inside game to match Booker or forward James Mays, most of their shoots came from at least 15 feet from the basket.

In the first half, Wofford buried 8-of-15 from 3-point range to keep pace with the Tigers and trailed 48-39, despite Clemson shooting 57.6 percent from the field.

"That's the thing that disappointed me the most in the first half was their eight threes," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "We knew they didn't have a post presence inside."

But in the second half, the defense for the Tigers improved, as did the play of Booker, who scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in just 10 minutes of action after intermission.

Sophomore guard K.C. Rivers also lit it up, but all of his damage came from the outside. He poured in 18 points as he continues to be Clemson's main scoring threat.

Hamilton added 13 points, six assists and three steals. Guard Cliff Hammonds chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.

The Tigers got their points from a variety of places, which has been the case most of the season. It was especially needed for this game to offset Mays getting only four points.

"We're a balanced scoring team," Purnell said. "We'll be able to withstand one of our guys (not scoring)."

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