for this game

Clemson tops East Carolina to remain unbeaten

Jan 4, 2009 - 12:35 AM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- K.C. Rivers scored 18 points and No. 16 Clemson remained unbeaten with a 79-66 victory over East Carolina on Saturday.

Rivers scored 13 of his points in the first half as the Tigers opened up a 16-point cushion but settled for a 41-35 lead at the break.

Clemson (14-0) pushed the lead back up to 68-48 with a 17-4 run in the second half and cruised from there.

"Obviously, we're pleased to get to 14-0 against an ECU team that gave us problems, particularly shooting the three-ball," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "In the second half, we were able to get a few stops in a row and we got the lead out to a working margin. Then we were able to get the ball inside; we did a good job of that."

James Legan scored 21 points for East Carolina (8-5), which has lost four straight.

Three of the Pirates' four losses in the skid have been to Atlantic Coast Conference foes. Entering Saturday, they had dropped consecutive games to North Carolina State and Wake Forest before losing 63-55 to Coastal Carolina.

"I thought we did a lot of things better today, there are obviously some things we would like to improve on," East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy said. "We had a lot of choices to make in the first and were able to break the pressure which gave us some wide-open shots."

Jerai Grant scored a career-high 14 points off the bench to help the Tigers improve to 14-0 for the second time in three years.

Grant certainly knows a little something about successful Clemson teams as his father, Harvey Grant, played two seasons at Clemson before transferring to Oklahoma. His uncle Horace Grant played for the NBA's Chicago Bulls and helped the Tigers to a 17-0 start in 1986-87.

Led by Grant and Tanner Smith, who had eight points, Clemson's reserves outscored the Pirates' bench, 29-5.

"Jerai played well, Andre played well, Tanner played well," Purnell said. "It's important because we want to play nine or 10 guys."