The Clemson men's basketball team is back in action Saturday afternoon against East Carolina.
Tigers Remain Unbeaten
Jerai Grant had a career-high 14 points and No. 16 Clemson improved to 14-0 for the second time in three years with a 79-66 victory over East Carolina on Saturday.
Grant also grabbed six rebounds - five on the offensive glass - and gave Clemson an inside force when starting forwards Trevor Booker and Raymond Sykes were getting outplayed underneath.
The Pirates had cut a 16-point first-half lead down to 36-31 right before intermission. The score was 51-44 after Sam Hinnant's bucket when Grant helped turn the momentum back to the Tigers.
Grant made three free throws, then put back K.C. Rivers' miss. When Grant added another inside bucket a minute later, Clemson was up 63-48.
"Obviously, we're pleased to get to 14-0 against an ECU team that gave us problems, particularly shooting the three-ball," head coach Oliver Purnell said afterwards. "In the second half, we were able to get a few stops in a row and we got the lead out to a working margin. Then we were able to get the ball inside; we did a good job of that."
Rivers led the Tigers with 18 points. Booker had 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Tigers next face Alabama on Tuesday, then jump back into the Atlantic Coast Conference against North Carolina State next Saturday.
James Legan had 21 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead East Carolina.
The Pirates had opened the season 8-1, their best start in five years. But they came in on a three-game losing streak, including defeats to ACC opponents in North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
The Tigers figured to be an equally stern test. But Clemson, which entered this one off a satisfying victory over rival South Carolina on Tuesday night, seemed to be looking ahead to its Alabama game next week and then a return to conference play.
"We're playing an excellent Alabama team next," Purnell said. "Steele and Gee are as good as we've faced. I'm not going to say we're not ready. We've won on the road in the ACC, we've won on the road in the Big Ten, we've won on the road in the SEC, so I'm not worried about it."
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