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Clemson uses turnovers to continue perfect start

Dec 29, 2006 - 6:51 AM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Trevor Booker and Clemson took advantage of the opportunities given to them to remain undefeated.

Booker scored 14 points as No. 21 Clemson fed off the sloppy play of Georgia to record their 13th straight win, a 75-60 victory.

One of just four unbeaten teams remaining in Division I, the Tigers (13-0) improved upon the second-best start in school history, closing within four wins of matching the 17-0 beginning in 1986-87.

Clemson also began last season with a lengthy winning streak of 11 games before absorbing a 72-69 loss to Georgia exactly one year ago.

"The biggest difference is just our experience," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "We've had several important road games. We have experienced guards and perimeter players that put our team in position to win more games."

Facing a Southeastern Conference team for the second time this season, Clemson was led by an extremely opportunistic defense, which converted 26 turnovers into 29 points.

"It was a road game for them and against a top-25 team," Purnell said. "I didn't think they played awful. I think we played real well. Our pressure was great, as it has been all year."

"We haven't taken care of the ball as well as we could this year, but today was exceptionally bad," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "But give Clemson credit, they are the real deal. They are strong, athletic. They didn't get to 13-0 for no reason."

Twelve of those 29 points came in the first half, as the Tigers grabbed a 34-28 edge. Cliff Hammonds scored nine of his 13 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Clemson created its separation with a 9-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half, pulling ahead, 43-30, with 17:39 to play. Vernon Hamilton had five points during the spurt, including a driving layup after he picked up a loose ball at mid-court off an errant inbounds pass by Georgia (8-3).

"Coming out like we did in the second half was big for us," Purnell said. "We were able to get some turnovers and turn them into easy baskets."

Hamilton and K.C. Rivers both scored 13 points and Sam Perry chipped in 10 for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (16-of-32) in the second half.

Having a decided advantage inside, Clemson attacked there frequently, finishing with a 46-28 edge in points in the paint. Booker shot 4-of-4 inside and James Mays went 4-of-7 en route to nine points for the Tigers.

"I wasn't surprised that Clemson attacked us inside," Felton said. "I thought that they played in character. They did the same things that they have done all year. Mays is strong and athletic, and he's aggressive."

Terrance Woodbury scored 14 points for the Bulldogs, who finished with a season high in turnovers in losing their second straight game.

    --- --- -----
    GEORGIA 28 32 60
    CLEMSON (21) 34 41 75 FINAL

    Dec 28 9:05 PM

    GEORGIA 28

    Dec 28 7:57 PM