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Clemson pulls away from Boston College to halt losing skid

Jan 20, 2007 - 9:51 PM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Cliff Hammonds and Clemson got back on track after an end to their undefeated run.

Hammonds scored 17 points and the 16th-ranked Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 74-54 victory over Boston College in an Atlantic Coast Conference encounter.

Clemson (18-2, 4-2 ACC) was one of the biggest early surprises of the season as it got off to a 17-0 start. After losses to Maryland and North Carolina, the Tigers were in desperate need of a conference victory and were able to get it by pulling away from the Eagles (13-5, 5-1) in the second half.

"This is an unbelievably tough league to play in," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "If you think you can sprint through, it just isn't going to happen. We played smarter today, made shots. It was a good solid win here today."

Hammonds hit five 3-pointers while James Mays added 14 points and Vernon Hamilton 13.

The Tigers led 41-33 at the half and, after a dunk by Jared Dudley pulled the Eagles within 41-35, Mays sparked a spurt that extended the lead to double digits.

The junior forward sandwiched a pair of jumpers around a dunk by freshman Trevor Booker to extend the lead to 47-35 with 17:15 to play. Boston College never made a serious run the rest of the way, mainly because it didn't take care of the ball.

Already undermanned due to the dismissal on Wednesday of starting center Sean Williams, the Eagles did themselves no favors by committing 21 turnovers, which led to 24 points for the Tigers. Clemson had only eight turnovers.

"We need to adapt to playing short-handed," Boston College coach Al Skinner said. "No question that fatigue was a factor but we didn't play at our pace. This is the team that we are going to have the rest of the way."

Williams was averaging an ACC-leading 5.0 blocks in 15 games to go along with 12.1 points. Without him manning the paint, Boston College managed four blocks and Clemson was able to get to the rim on a number of ocassions, finishing 51 percent (31-of-61) from the field.

"We made some shots, led by Cliff Hammonds, which makes it easier and puts us right where we need to be," Purnell said. "Their shooting percentage went down in the second half and we did a good job taking care of the ball."

Clemson's hot shooting included making 9-of-18 3-pointers. The Tigers were 7-of-13 from the arc in the first half.

"Overall, our defense just wasn't that good. It doesn't matter who was on the floor," Skinner said. "I always feel that we'll beat most teams shooting two-pointers. But when a team in making three's like they were, we are going to have a hard time beating them."

Tyrese Rice had 16 points, freshman Shamari Spears 14, Dudley added 13 and Sean Marshall had 10 for Boston College, which had a six-game winning streak snapped and lost a league game for the first time this season.

The Eagles used only seven players and while four players reached double figures, the other three combined for just one point. Rice had six assists and a pair of steals but also committed eight turnovers.

    --- --- -----
    BOSTON COLLEGE 33 21 54
    CLEMSON (16) 41 33 74 FINAL

    Jan 20 1:56 PM


    Jan 20 12:49 PM