Late run propels Tigers
Andre Young
CUTigers.com
Posted Dec 22, 2009


CLEMSON - No. 23 Clemson uses a 19-0 second half run to beat Western Carolina 79-57.

The second half run, led by Trevor and Devin Booker improves the Tigers to 11-2 and drops the Catamounts to 10-2 on the season.

Trevor had game highs in points (31) rebounds (seven) and blocked shots (five). Devin came off the bench to score 10 and grab five rebounds.

On the 19-0 second half run, the Booker Brothers combined for 14 points and brought the Littlejohn Coliseum crowd to its feet with dunks on consecutive possessions.

Devin’s came off an offensive rebound, following a missed foul shot. Trevor’s was one-handed plus a foul that was assisted by David Potter. Potter started the break after stealing a Western Carolina in-bounds pass on the other end.

“He tried to out-shine me, but I couldn’t let that happen,” Trevor said of his younger brother. “I think he thought the same thing, so we just kept battling.”

Devin said he had a feeling that Trevor was trying to one-up him, though he maintains that his dunk was better.

“He got the and one, but you’ve got to look at the other side,” Devin said. “I came from all the way on the other side of the court and had to expect it was coming off. I went ahead and jumped and it came off just how I wanted it.”

Jake Robinson found Brandon Giles with baseball pass on an in-bounds play underneath the Catamounts' basket, bringing the score to 56-51 with just over eight minutes to play. From there, the Tigers went on the 19-0 run.

Demontez Stitt said the run was a product of what coach Oliver Purnell defines as Clemson basketball.

“We ran and we made lay-ups--played defense,” Stitt said. “We got some stops, boxed out--they were getting a lot of offensive rebounds earlier. They couldn’t get those second chance points. It was over.”

He scored 10 and dished out a game-high eight assists.

Western Carolina used a run of its own to jump out to a quick lead, two minutes into the game.

Harouna Mutombo scored the Catamounts’ first 12 points. The first six of his team-high of 19 were on consecutive 3-pointers as Western Carolina jumped out to a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. After the second three was made, Clemson coach Oliver Purnell called time-out with 18:32 left in the first half.

“(Coach Purnell) knew we had to turn it up. I knew it. We all knew we had to turn it up. He pretty much told us to pick up our play and play Clemson basketball,” Stitt said. “We didn’t come in here tonight expecting to blow them out. This is our house and we don’t want anybody coming in here to take what’s ours.”

Purnell said the focus to start the game wasn’t “razor sharp”. After the time-out, he felt the focus picked up to the level where it needed to be after the time-out.

“We got in the fight and it was important. Western made some three’s, shared the basketball, made us chase around,” he said. “I think we got the pace going the way that we wanted to get it going in probably the last 10-12 minutes of the half.”

Western Carolina led 24-22 with 5:31 to play before Devin Booker hit a pair of free-throws 20 seconds later to tie the score at 24. The Catamounts didn’t lead again.

For a second consecutive outing, Clemson shot 60 percent from the field. Western Carolina shot just 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from behind the 3-point line. Robinson, the Catamounts’ leading scorer, had just six points with only one made 3-pointer, which came in the final minute of the game.

“I’m real pleased to get this win going into Christmas. I feel like we’re playing pretty well heading into Christmas,” Purnell said.



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