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Solomon Leads Clemson Past South Carolina, 61-58

Dec. 16, 1999

Box Score| Notes

By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – With Will Solomon, Adam Allenspach and Andrius Jurkunas – about Clemson’s only experienced players – leading the way, the Tigers survived a wild finish to keep the Chicken Curse alive with a 61-58 victory over South Carolina on Thursday night.

Solomon, a sophomore who started some a year ago, scored 26 points, 17 in the second half, including several important 3-pointers. Allenspach, a junior, finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. While Jurkunas, the only senior his teammates call “the old man,” had three rebounds in a late 8-0 run that lifted Clemson (4-5) to its sixth straight victory over the Gamecocks (5-3).

South Carolina trailed 57-49 on Jurkunas’ tip basket, his only one of the game, with 1:18 to go. But staged a near comeback in the next 24 seconds as Antonio Grant’s 3-pointer made it 57-56 with 54 seconds left.

But when Damien Kinloch stole the ball from Clemson’s Pasha Baines, he called a timeout when South Carolina had none remaining. Solomon made a free throw on the technical. Clemson again lost the ball, but Aaron Lucas missed a driving layup out of bounds.

South Carolina had two chances to tie down 61-58. Aaron Lucas’ 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds was off the mark and Chuck Eidson failed on a desperation shot at the buzzer.

This was supposed to be South Carolina’s year. After all, Clemson had lost at home to Wofford and South Carolina State while the Gamecocks had taken powerful Michigan State to the wire in Puerto Rico last month before losing.

But Solomon’s shooting – he also had 11 rebounds – made sure it was the same old story at Littlejohn Coliseum.

His 3-pointer with 13:25 left tied the game at 35-all. He made his next two long-range shots as Clemson led 41-38. Allenspach made two free throws and jammed home Solomon’s miss for a 45-43 lead that the Tigers would never relinquish.

When Solomon stroked home his fourth 3-pointer with 4:41 to go, the lead was 51-43 and coliseum erupted.

Herbert Lee Davis led South Carolina with 13 points.

The victory was timely for Clemson coach Larry Shyatt. Sports Illustrated wondered if Clemson officials were worried about the money they spent on Rick Barnes’ replacement after the home defeats to Wofford and South Carolina State.

The fans knew how they felt, flooding the court when game ended.

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