Notes from Clemson's thrilling come-from-behind win Sunday night in Anaheim.
Stitt, Tigers rally past No. 10 Butler
Demontez Stitt made two free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining to give No. 19 Clemson a 70-69 victory over No. 12 Butler in the 76 Classic on Sunday night.
Stitt led all scorers with 19 points and helped key a late 8-2 run to lift Clemson to the come-from-behind victory.
"My teammates had all the confidence in the world in me," Stitt said. "I tried to get to the line by creating floaters. I was confident I could make them. It definitely reminded me of the Mississippi State game [two years ago]."
Trevor Booker also blocked a shot and deflected an inbounds pass in the final second for the Tigers (6-1). Booker finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Andre Young added 12 points.
"Overall, I am thrilled with the win in what was a great college game," head coach Oliver Purnell said afterwards.
"Both teams weren't playing pretty. It was a battle out there. We battled guards all night long, but towards the end we started to make plays. We had some defensive mistakes that allowed them to retake the lead, but we ran some good offenses out of time outs and got back in it."
Gordon Hayward had season highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs (4-2). Shelvin Mack added 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The Tigers finished the game on an 8-2 run and trailed by as many as 12 in the first half.
Complicating matters Sunday evening was also the fact that Booker was ill.
"I knew he was feeling weak and thought maybe it was because of the three-day tournament," Purnell said. "But today I knew something was wrong with him because he looked pretty weak. I tried to nurse him through the game by resting him more. He got better as the game went on, but I knew he was feeling a little weak."
After a slow start, Clemson shot 57.7 percent and made six of 13 shots from 3-point range in the second half.
Clemson finally took the lead at 68-67 on Young's 3-point shot from the right baseline with 1:32 to play. Matt Howard's tip-in then put Butler ahead 69-68 with 56.7 seconds remaining before Stitt's free throws won it.
It was Clemson's first win against a ranked non-conference opponent in 12 years.
The Tigers' last win over a ranked non-conference foe was on Dec. 12, 1997 when Clemson defeated South Carolina by a score of 62-57.
Clemson will return to the hardwood Wednesday evening against Illinois at Littlejohn Coliseum as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Tigers defeated Illinois last year.
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