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Clemson makes 15 shots from the arc, routs Western Carolina

Dec 23, 2006 - 10:08 PM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- K.C. Rivers led a 3-point assault for Clemson.

The sophomore came off the bench to hit 6-of-9 shots from the arc and score a career-high 24 points as the 22nd-ranked Tigers rolled to a 103-60 victory over Western Carolina.

Clemson (12-0) matched the second-best start in school history. The 1986-87 team, which was led by Horace Grant and Elden Campbell, started 17-0 en route to a 25-6 season.

Picked to finish ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, the Tigers are taking advantage of inferior opponents and dismissed Western Carolina (5-6) with 57 percent shooting (35-of-62), including 15-of-27 from 3-point range.

Rivers made four of his six 3-pointers in the second half when Clemson went on an 18-0 run to open a 65-33 advantage.

"K.C. really had the hot hand today," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "He's a valuable sixth man on this team and he gave us a jolt."

Jesse Yanutola hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 left to give the Tigers their biggest lead, 100-55.

Chris Poole connected on Clemson's 15th basket from the arc with 21 seconds remaining to complete the rout.

The 103 points were the most by the Tigers since a 118-115 double-overtime win over Wake Forest in February 2002.

Western Carolina played without starters Nick Aldridge, Arnold Gore and Brandon Giles, who were suspended for one game due to unspecified team violations.

The Catamounts shot just 31 percent (19-of-62), including 9-of-30 from the arc.

Yet Western Carolina trailed by just 26-25 when Antonio Russell hit a jumper with 6:11 left in the first half.

But Clemson closed the half with an 18-4 run as James Mays hit two layups and a pair of free throws and Rivers and Vernon Hamilton each connected on 3-pointers.

Mays scored all 14 of his points in the first half.

"We finished strong in the first half and then kept it going in the second half," Purnell said.

The Tigers opened the second half with a 21-4 run, including the 18 straight points. Along with Rivers' four 3-pointers, Cliff Hammonds made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play.

Hammonds scored 17 points, including 3-of-4 from the arc, and Hamilton added 12 for the Tigers.

Negus McKenna scored 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting and Russell added 13, but made just 4-of-14 shots, for the Catamounts.

    --- --- -----
    WESTRN CAROLINA 29 31 60
    CLEMSON (22) 44 59 103 FINAL

    Dec 23 1:51 PM


    Dec 23 12:45 PM