Olu Babalola hit a go-ahead jumper with just over two minutes remaining and Clemson's defense made up for a poor shooting night to help the Tigers defeat Florida State 56-54.
"We weren't pretty, we didn't put the ball in the basket that well, but we did scrap," Purnell said.
In the game's closing play, Von Wafer fired a desperation 3-pointer from near his bench that would've put the Seminoles ahead, but the ball skipped around the rim before being collected by a Clemson player.
The Tigers (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a 12-game conference road losing streak, which extended back to a 73-64 victory against Virginia in February 2003. Clemson shot just 35 percent from the field, but took advantage of 22 FSU turnovers.
The Seminoles (9-7, 1-2) failed to hit another field goal following Wafer's 3-pointer with 4:26 to play, getting only two free throws from Alexander Johnson the rest of the way. Florida State committed two costly turnovers in the game's final 1:49.
"We had some glimpses, but all in all we didn't play that great," Adam Waleskowsi said. "We let an opportunity slip by."
The Seminoles' leading scorer, Wafer, had been FSU's best long range shooter, but the Clemson defense held him to just 5 points and one 3-pointer on 2-of-8 shooting.
Johnson was the only Florida State player to score in double-figures with a career-high 20 points, but he was limited in the closing stretch after picking up his fourth foul with 6:58 to go.
"I'm not real sure we're talented enough where we can have one guy score in double-figures and we can be successful," Hamilton said. "We need for everybody to be playing at their very best for us to compete."
Clemson led 27-26 at halftime, despite shooting a dismal 28.6 percent from the field. The Seminoles held Clemson without a basket until Vernon Hamilton's 3-pointer nearly eight minutes into the game.