Tigers Hold Off Penn State

Akin Akingbala

Clemson moves to 5-0 on the season after an impressive win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Clemson was handed its first true test of the year and the basketball team passed with flying colors as it took a 96-88 victory Tuesday night at Penn State in the seventh ACC-Big 10 Challenge.

For the first time this season, the Tigers made a nice percentage of its three-point shots, which enabled them to jump to a big lead and hang on down the stretch. Clemson is now 5-0 overall and 5-2 all time in the competition between the two conferences.

Clemson made 35.7 percent of its long-range shots as power forward Julius Powell was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc to finish with 16 points. Guards Shawan Robinson and Vernon Hamilton also added 16 points each.

"It was a good, solid win for us," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said.

The game started out tight as the Tigers held just a four-point lead at 23-19 with 8:46 left to play in the first half. But that's when Clemson more or less put the game to bed.

The Tigers went on a 26-11 run over the rest of the first half and pulled away for a 49-30 advantage at halftime.

"We came out in the first half and with our pressure we were able to build a big lead," Purnell said.

The second half displayed much the same for the Tigers as they built a 60-34 lead. And with five minutes to play, it looked as though it was for the most part over as Clemson led 84-62.

But that's when Penn State (3-1) made its run. It eventually closed the gap to eight, which wound up being the final margin of victory.

"We lost our focus a little bit," Purnell said. "But we made our free throws when they counted."

Clemson shot 54 percent from the field as a team, but the distressing part for Purnell is that Penn State made 52.4 percent of its shots. Nonetheless, it still goes down as a win on the road over a team from another major conference.

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