Tigers blow away Wolfpack

NC State committed 23 turnovers as the Wolfpack fell 70-54 to No. 24 Clemson on Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. Its the second straight blow-out loss for the Pack, both coming against ranked opponents on the road.

NC State offensive troubles just keep getting worse. And as the competition goes from newly minted Division I teams to ACC-caliber opposition, narrow wins are turning into blowout losses.

Clemson took full advantage of the Pack's disjointed offensive attack, using smothering ball pressure to force the Wolfpack into 23 turnovers as the Pack fell 70-54 on Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum. Its second straight blowout loss for State, who lost by 31 points to North Carolina on Saturday.

Even worse news for the Pack was the loss of Ben McCauley in the final minutes. The junior forward went up for rebound and came down awkwardly with under two minutes remaining, and had to be helped to the sideline by his teammates with what appeared to be a right ankle injury.

The Tigers had four different players score in double figures, led by Cliff Hammonds with 14. Courtney Fells led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 5-for-8 mark from the behind the arc. Freshman Tracy Smith, who had just 10 points on the season, provided a pleasant surprise for the Pack with 13 points. No other Wolfpack players scored in double figures.

The Pack shot a respectable 44 percent and out-rebounded the Tigers by a 38-to-30 margin, but turnovers killed the Wolfpack's offense. On the defensive end, the Pack forced just 10 turnovers and allowed the Tigers to shoot 45 percent.

Clemson pulled ahead of the Pack thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers in the first half. The Tigers shot 7-for-14 from behind the arc, as State left shooters wide open on several occasions and Clemson made them pay. Terrance Oglesby, who leads the ACC in 3-pointers made, was left open on all three of his makes in the half. Clemson's finals 18 points of the half came on 3-point baskets.

The Pack found success on offense by going inside, recovering from a sluggish start to the game. Tracy Smith, who had seen little time on the court for the Pack, scored six first-half points by attacking the rim. But Clemson's hot outside shooting, and the Pack's 11 first-half turnovers, helped the Tigers take a 32-24 lead into the locker room.

But the Pack offense sputtered out of the gate in the second half, as the Tigers continued to force the Pack into mistakes. Clemson started the half with a 13-5 run and never looked back, building over a 20-point lead until the final minutes when the Pack made a comeback to trim the final margin.

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