Tigers Roar to Blowout

CLEMSON – K.C. Rivers wasn't the least bit surprised by his exceedingly hot shooting in the second half. In fact, the only thing he was the least bit stunned by was that he was constantly being left unguarded.

Rivers nailed five three-pointers and scored 12 consecutive points during the final 20 minutes on his way to a game-high 24 points to pace No. 22 Clemson to the 103-60 victory over Western Carolina at Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

"If you're not going to come out and guard me, I'm going to shoot," the sophomore sad. "I was surprised I was open that much."

The Tigers remain the only undefeated Atlantic Coast Conference team at 12-0, while Western Carolina drops to 5-6.

This is the most points scored by the Tigers under coach Oliver Purnell and the most since the 2001-02 season.

Clemson has a promotion with a local restaurant that if the team scores at least 85 points, everyone at the game gets a free taco. It was such a drubbing that the free food was earned with 8:46 still left to play.

The Catamounts had three starters, two of which were post players, were suspended for violation of team rules. Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said Nick Aldridge, Arnold Gore and Brandon Giles will be reinstated for their game Thursday at St. Mary's.

"That was a coaching decision to hold them out," Hunter said. "We're disappointed in the decision they made. I hope they learn from this situation and I think they will."

Without three starters, the undermanned Catamounts were no match for Clemson.

Four other Tigers reached double figures with Cliff Hammonds scoring 17 points, James Mays 14 along with 11 rebounds and seven assists, Vernon Hamilton 12, and Matt Morris 11.

"It was one of the best games I've played overall in a while," Mays said. "When we first found out they were going to be without some of their players down low, we knew we were going to have to go inside."

Leading 47-33 with just under 19 minutes remaining, the Tigers went on an 18-0 run to extend their margin over Western Carolina to 32 points at 65-33 with 15:11 left to play.

That outburst by Clemson was just part of an overall 32-8 run to start the second half.

"We kind of had all cylinders clicking," said Tigers coach Oliver Purnell. "Good teams turn it up coming out of the half and thankfully our guys responded."

The Tigers shot 56.5 percent from the field, including 55.6 percent from three-point range, hitting 15-of-27 attempts. Conversely, the Catamounts made just 30.6 percent of their shots.

Negus McKenna paced Western Carolina with 16 points and six rebounds.

"It's hard to say you haven't played well if you're 12-0," Purnell said. "We've played extremely well to this point."

Clemson will get its biggest test of the year Thursday night when a good Georgia team invades Littlejohn.

"They beat Gonzaga," Rivers said. "We can't come out flat. We've got to come out and put the peddle to the metal."

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