Tigers Remain Unbeaten

Trevor Booker

Cliff Hammonds grew up in the shadows of the Florida State campus, yet when it came time to choose where to play college basketball, he chose Clemson. The Seminoles felt the ramifications of that decision Wednesday night.

Hammonds scored five of the team's final seven points, including the game winner with 2.8 seconds left to lift the No. 18 Tigers to the 68-66 victory over Florida State at the Tucker Center and help them remain undefeated on the season.

Clemson improves to 15-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC, while the Seminoles fall to 12-3 overall and 0-1 in the ACC.

"It's important," Tigers head coach Oliver Purnell said. "It's so tough to win on the road in the ACC. Any time you can put a notch on your belt, you take it."

With the game tied at 66-66 with 6.5 seconds left, Tigers forward James Mays inbounded the ball to guard Vernon Hamilton, who hit a streaking Hammonds, who promptly laid it up and in for the win.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Hammonds' teammates carried him off the court.

"He played big down the stretch, no question about it," Purnell said.

Moments earlier, Hammonds drained a three-pointer with two minutes left to give the Tigers a 64-62 lead after Florida State had just taken its first lead since leading 2-0 to open the game.

The last layup by Hammonds helps erase what was nearly a nightmare for the Cairo, Ga., native.

Prior to his last two hoops, Hammonds was just 2-of-10 from the field.

With the Tigers leading by two with 33.8 seconds remaining, Hammonds was sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one. And just like he did so many times last year in tight games, he missed.

The Seminoles got the rebounds and eventually tied it at 66-66, which ultimately set up Hammonds heroics.

"Its one of those games where you think which ever team cracks the other is going to win, but neither team cracked," Purnell said. "The only reason we won is because we had the ball last."

Hamilton led Clemson with 19 points, while guard K.C. Rivers added 16 and Mays 14.

Up next for the Tigers is Georgia Tech, which comes to Littlejohn Coliseum for a 4 p.m. game Saturday.

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