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Rivers helps Clemson get past Purdue

Nov 28, 2007 - 6:41 AM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- K.C. Rivers helped Clemson overcome dreadful free-throw shooting and the presence of one of its key players.

Rivers had 18 points and 12 rebounds and scored the go-ahead basket with 31 seconds to play as the 18th-ranked Tigers rallied for a 61-58 victory over Purdue as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.

"It was a good win," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "It took awhile for our guys to adjust to their physical style of play, but we were able to make it happen."

It was the fourth straight win in the annual event between the two conferences for Clemson, which played without its second-leading scorer James Mays, who injured his hip in Saturday's victory over Gardner-Webb.

Cliff Hammonds added 12 points for the Tigers (6-0), who shot just 10-of-26 (39 percent) from the free-throw line and committed 21 turnovers.

"We have definitely matured in the past few years and that helps us to recover from those missed free throws and turnovers," Purnell said. "We were also able to continue to put pressure on defense even when those turnovers were happening."

Purdue (3-1) had taken a 58-56 lead after a layup by Tarrance Crump, but Clemson tied the game with 1:14 remaining when Trevor Booker responded with one of his own.

After the Boilermakers failed to score on their next possession, Rivers took a pass and drove down the left baseline, rattling in a left-handed floater with 31 seconds to play.

Robbie Hummel missed a jumper and, after Hammonds made one free throw, Scott Martin's 3-point attempt with under 10 seconds remaining was off the mark.

Martin scored 13 points off the bench to lead the Boilermakers, who committed 21 turnovers and shot just 2-of-12 from the arc.

"I thought we did an alright job on the boards for how athletic they are," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We were in position a lot of times. Clemson was more aggressive tonight."

The teams combined for 23 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes as Purdue - powered by 10 points from Nemanja Calasan - held a 26-23 lead at the break.

The Boilermakers had their largest lead at 51-45 when E'Twaun Moore made a jumper in transition with 6:27 to play.

The Tigers answered with a 8-0 run capped by a layup by Rivers to take a 53-51 advantage for just its second lead of the second half.

A 3-pointer from Moore gave Purdue a 56-55 advantage with 3:09 remaining before Rivers made one free throw to tie the game with under two minutes left.

"It was a great learning experience for our team, in our first road game," Painter said. "We have a lot of things to learn and grow from."