Final - OT
  for this game

Rivers, Clemson hang on for overtime win against Wake Forest

Jan 23, 2008 - 5:27 AM CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Playing in another overtime game, Clemson found a way to avoid its second straight loss.

K.C. Rivers had 19 points and Cliff Hammonds scored the go-ahead basket in the extra session as No. 25 Clemson held on for an 80-75 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference rival Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Freshman Terrence Oglesby chipped in 13 points and Hammonds finished with 10 and six assists for the Tigers, who became the first ACC team to start conference play with consecutive overtime games earlier this month.

"I thought they outplayed us for about three-quarters of the game," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell coach. "But our guys kept fighting, and we got it to overtime. I felt like we were the better team during that stretch. We had a lot of guys step up and make plays for us."

Clemson (15-4, 3-2 ACC) had lost to North Carolina and beaten Florida State in overtime - both at home - and needed an extra five minutes to dispose of Wake Forest after the Demon Deacons tied the game late.

Down by three in regulation, Demon Deacons guard Ishmael Smith drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 65-65 with 46 seconds left. Trevor Booker and Hammonds each had a chance to give the Tigers the lead in the last 15 seconds, but both missed.

In overtime, the teams traded baskets early before Hammonds gave Clemson the lead for good. The senior guard scored on a layup with a foul, converting the three-point play with 1:10 left to give the Tigers a 76-73 lead that they would not relinquish.

"I thought he showed leadership and assertiveness, getting our guys in sets, hitting big shots," Purnell said of Hammonds. "On that three-point play, he was tough-as-nails. He is one of the most underrated players in the ACC in a long time."

Harvey Hale missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left for Wake Forest that would have tied the game, and Clemson made all four free-throw attempts down the stretch to secure the win.

Smith finished with 19 points, seven assists and four steals to lead the Demon Deacons (12-6, 2-3), who had won seven of their last eight games against the Tigers coming into the contest.

James Johnson and L.D. Williams each chipped in 14 points for Wake Forest, which shot 4-of-18 from the arc and 7-of-15 from the free-throw line.

The Tigers led by five with under two minutes left in the first half before Hale and Williams made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Demon Deacons a 32-31 lead at the break.

The game stayed close early in the second half until Wake Forest used a 9-3 spurt to take its biggest lead at 60-52 with 6:22 left to play.

"I thought our kids played their hearts out," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. "I thought they played very hard and put themselves in a position to win the game. We had one day to get ready after FSU, and we came down here with a lot of heart and emotion but couldn't put the game out of reach."

Trailing, 62-54, Clemson then scored 11 unanswered to take the lead.

Hammonds made a key 3-pointer and Rivers scored a layup that gave the Tigers a 63-62 advantage with 3:09 remaining.

Clemson had a 16-8 edge in steals and made 5-of-6 free throws in overtime after going 2-of-10 from the stripe during regulation.

"We talked to the team a lot the past couple of days about taking their time," Purnell said. "We have taken thousands of free throws, we've just got to trust ourselves, trust our forms, and take our times."