Clemson rolls to first ACC win
Demontez Stitt
Posted Jan 9, 2010

CLEMSON - The 21st ranked Tigers picked up their first ACC victory of the season, beating Boston College 72-56 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Stingy perimeter defense kept Boston College in a shooting slump all afternoon on Saturday.

Joe Trapani hit the first Eagle 3-pointer with 15:23 left in the opening half but Boston College didn’t make another until Biko Paris hit from the top of the key with 1:23 left in the game.

Coach Oliver Purnell credited the fast-paced run-and-gun that wore down the visitors from Chestnut Hill.

“When we make a commitment to press, one of the advantages we list is it gets into your legs,” he said. “It affects your shooting percentage throughout the course of the game, but particularly late.”

Boston College shot 13 percent from behind the 3-point line in the game (2-16) and just 37 percent from the field.

The Tigers won the battle on the glass, out rebounding the Eagles 40-33. Up 41-29 at halftime, but down 21-17 in rebounding, Purnell expressed concern to his team about the battle on the boards.

“Unless you clean up the offensive rebound, they can stay in the game. They did a very, very good job of that in the second half,” he said.

Trevor Booker scored a game-high 19 points and led the way with four blocks.

“Any night it’s important. If we get him touches and shots, generally speaking, it opens things up, because they’ve got to make that decision whether to come or not” Purnell said. “He gets that ball; he’s so patient with it when he starts towards the middle.”

Booker was happy to get the Tigers’ first conference win heading into next week’s game against North Carolina.

“We probably could have let down after the Duke game. To come back and win against this team, it’s a big confidence booster,” he said.

With the win, Clemson improves to 13-3 overall (1-1, ACC) while Boston College drops to 11-5 (1-1, ACC).

“You don’t want to go 0-2 (in conference play), said Tanner Smith, who scored 12 points on Saturday.

“Teams are going 2-0 and that gets you behind the eight-ball real fast.”

Demontez Stitt scored 15, 14 of which came in the first half. He also dished out four assists.

“Demontez’s slice-and-slash to the basket in the first half was good for us,” Purnell said.

He doesn’t mind that Stitt’s scoring input dropped considerably in the second half.

“As a point guard, he did what he needed to do during the first half,” Purnell said. “In the second half, he didn’t force…we got the ball to Trevor a good deal there in the second half. I like that he gave us a working margin.”

The shooting performance Saturday was much better than the previous effort at Duke as Clemson shot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the 3-point line (5-14).

Smith credited the improved offensive outing to the inside-out approach through Booker. Though Smith said there’s always room for improvement.

“We worked really hard this week at doing that,” he said. “It looked really good. We got the ball inside-out, got open jump shots, really ran the floor well. It looked good, but we’ve got to get it better for Carolina.”

Clemson doesn’t take to the hardwood until next Wednesday when No. 9 North Carolina visits Littlejohn for a 9 p.m. tipoff.

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