Tigers Win Double OT Thriller

Trevor Booker

CLEMSON – With the ball in hand and dribbling out the clock near the midcourt line, Terrence Oglesby had a sly smile because the very noisy crowed wanted him to shoot one more time. And why not? He had already nailed four straight 3-pointers in the two overtimes from well behind the line.

"I was laughing because I knew they wanted me to shoot," Oglesby said. "But there was no way that (ball) was going up."

Moans and groans from the fans, as well as looks of dismay from his teammates, quickly turned into standing ovations and hugs and high fives as Oglesby helped shoot No. 18 Clemson to the wild 97-85 double-overtime victory over Florida State Saturday night at a loud and near full Littlejohn Coliseum.

Clemson (13-3, 1-1 ACC) is the first team in the 55 years of the ACC to have its first two conference games go into overtime.

"I don't think any of our fans that have seen our first two ACC games will miss another ACC game all year," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "That was a whale of a ballgame."

Oglesby had been 2-of-7 at the end of regulation. However, in the extra 10 minutes, he drilled all four of his 3-point attempts to finish with 19 points.

He was on such a roll that as soon as he got the ball, it was clear the shot was about to happen, regardless of where he was on the court. It was equally as clear the ball was going to sail through the hoop.

"I got in a little groove there," Oglesby said. "The good thing is if I'm hitting, (my teammates) are going to find me."

However, had it not been for a made desperation shot at the end of regulation and again at the end of the first overtime, the growing legend of Oglesby wouldn't have happened.

With the score tied at 64-64 with 16.7 seconds left, Toney Douglas nailed a 3-pointer from nearly the exact same spot that North Carolina's Wayne Ellington had just a week earlier to hand Clemson a defeat in overtime.

The Tigers set up their play, but they were quickly forced out of it and scrambled just to get a shot from beyond the arc up.

Oglesby did from about 27 feet, but it clanged off the rim and was tipped out to center Trevor Booker, who took one step back and fired of his 3-pointer at the buzzer from the right wing.

It was evident from the get-go that the shot was well off the mark.

"I was thinking, glass, glass, glass," Booker said in referring to the backboard. "I was just hoping it would hit the glass."

The ball did indeed hit the backboard and perfectly bounded through the hoop to send the game into overtime. It was his third 3-pointer of the game, but obviously the most important.

"It gave us another life in overtime," said Booker, who scored a game-high 29 points to give him 61 in his last two games.

At the end of the first overtime session, once again Florida State nailed a big shot in the final seconds to take the lead. This time is was a 3-pointer from center Uche Echefu from the right corner with 15.0 seconds left to give the Seminoles (12-5, 1-1 ACC) the 78-76 lead.

For the umpteenth time, it appeared as though missed free throws were going to cost Clemson, which went 1-for-4 from the line in the extra five minutes. But another dramatic and heart-stopping shot from the Tigers kept that from happening.

With 3.7 seconds left, Clemson inbounded it from underneath its own basket. The pass went to K.C. Rivers, who threw up a very high arcing shot from about 10 feet on the right baseline.

It hit off the front side of the rim and bounced over to the left baseline and right into the broken hand of James Mays, who caught it and immediately put it back up from about seven feet away. It went perfectly into the basket at the buzzer to send it into double overtime.

The fans were beside themselves.

"I don't know where to start," Purnell said. "There were so many heroics out there and sometimes you need a little a little bit of luck."

Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton displayed a lot of character in his press conference despite the heartbreaking loss. Never once did he act angry or say Clemson's win was luck.

"You have to give Clemson a lot of credit," he said. "They made two exceptionally tough shots that they had to make. It was the mark of players with a lot of focus and determination. Booker and Mays' shots were shots that big-time players make in tough situations."

It was quite a finish and one that, quite frankly, Clemson needed more than the Seminoles. A loss would have given the Tigers three straight defeats and an 0-2 start to the ACC, with all three losses coming at home.

"It's an important win for us," Purnell said. "It would have put us behind the eight ball. No question about it. … If you lose three in a row like that, it messes with your confidence. We needed that."

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