Jennings leads Tigers over Paladins

CLEMSON - Milton Jennings had career highs with 22 points and 14 rebounds as Clemson broke a two-game losing streak with a 59-49 victory over Furman on Friday night.

BOX SCORE: Clemson 59 Furman 49

The Tigers (3-2) had lost twice to instate, mid-major programs at Littlejohn Coliseum in the past week and fell behind the Paladins 9-0 in this one. But the 6-foot-9 Jennings used his size and agility to help Clemson overtake Furman (3-2) in the second half.

Jennings' inside basket opened the second half and gave the Tigers their first lead of the game, 26-24. Andre Young's 3-pointer two minutes later put Clemson ahead for good at 31-28.

Young added 15 points for Clemson. Jennings surpassed his previous best of 16 points, last set in March against North Carolina.

Bryant Irwin scored 13 points to lead Furman.

Jennings had the first basket of the second half to put Clemson in front for the first time all game. Two minutes later, Andre Young's 3-pointer from the right of the circle broke a 28-all tie and gave the Tigers the lead for good.

Clemson led 46-37 on Devin Booker's jam when the Paladins made one last charge, drawing within 46-42 on Charlie Reddick's two foul shots. But Young and Booker followed with three foul shots to rebuild the margin and Furman couldn't get any closer than six points after that.

Furman's leading scorer coming in at 10.8 points a game, senior Brandon Sebirumbi, was held to three field goals and fouled out with 4:45 remaining in the game.

The Paladins had lost 27 straight to Clemson since its last series win in 1978, but this seemed like the perfect time to bag the reeling Tigers. Clemson had lost consecutive heartbreakers to instate rivals in the past week, falling 72-69 to College of Charleston, then 60-59 to Coastal Carolina in the return to Littlejohn Coliseum of former Tigers coach Cliff Ellis, now leading the Chanticleers.

The Paladins picked right up where those clubs left off, opening with a 9-0 lead and stunning most of the few thousand fans who turned out.

Clemson was still down 22-14 on Charlie Reddick's 3-pointer with 6:49 left in the period. That's when the Tigers closed with a 10-2 run to tie things at the break.

Jennings had eight of his 12 first-half points, including the tying basket with 35.5 seconds left off a nifty pass in the lane from T.J. Sapp.

Furman held Clemson to 9-of-24 shooting in the first half and held its own on the glass with the taller, stronger Tigers as both teams finished the period with 13 rebounds.

Among the Thanksgiving weekend crowd was ex-New York Yankees great, Paul O'Neill, a backbone of four World Series champions. O'Neill, in a crisp purple dress shirt, was on hand to watch son, Aaron, who's a freshman guard for the Paladins.

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