for this game

Clemson stifles Alabama, remains unbeaten

Jan 7, 2009 - 7:39 AM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- For the second time in three seasons, Clemson finished its non-conference schedule without a loss.

Trevor Booker scored 19 points and K.C. Rivers added 12 and nine rebounds as 11th-ranked Clemson used a big run midway through the second half to stay unbeaten with a 66-59 victory over Alabama on Tuesday.

Terrence Oglesby added 12 points for the Tigers (15-0), who are one of three unbeaten teams left in Division I. Top-ranked Pittsburgh (14-0) and No. 4 Wake Forest (13-0) are the others after Illinois State lost, 56-52, at Bradley earlier on Tuesday.

"It's a heck of a accomplishment to go through non-conference season unbeaten, and I congratulate our guys on that," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell told The State. "But we have to recognize we have a lot of work to do and a lot of that showed up (tonight).

"There are a lot of things you normally need to do well, yet we won in a fairly convincing way against a team that came in playing well."

The Tigers, who matched their best start in school history at 17-0 during the 2006-07 campaign, host North Carolina State in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday.

Clemson trailed, 42-41, less than six minutes into the second half before using a 14-0 run that saw Alabama go scoreless for just under eight minutes, giving the Tigers a 55-42 lead with 7:02 remaining. Freshman Andre Young and Oglesby each made a 3-pointer during the run.

"They're a team that has that stretch, that spurt at different times, and we gave them one in the second half," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried told the newspaper. "They're a terrific team and very deserving of being a Top-10 team in the country."

Freshman Andrew Steele's layup cut the Crimson Tide deficit to 63-57 with 33 seconds to play but Booker made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to help seal the victory.

It was the Tigers' 15th straight home win.

Alabama committed 19 turnovers for the game and shot just 29 percent (10-of-34), including 1-of-11 from the arc in the second half.

The Crimson Tide had started off well as Ronald Steele made his first three shots and Alabama jumped out to a 12-5 lead before Clemson got back into the game.

Booker scored the first five points as the Tigers used an 11-0 burst to take a 28-20 lead with 5:14 left and Clemson held a 33-29 edge at the break.

"We're unbeaten and have played some pretty good competition," Booker told The State. "We can play better so that's scary. We've got some big games coming up, so we're looking forward to proving we're a Top-10 team."

Both teams exchanged baskets to open the second half that saw seven lead changes in the first 5:41 of the session before Clemson took control.

Alonzo Gee and Senario Hillman each scored 12 points for Alabama (10-4), which had its five-game winning streak snapped.