March 16, 1999
By TOM CANAVAN AP Sports Writer
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Getting offensive rebounds hasn’t been Clemson’s problem this season. Putting the ball back in the basket has been.
Clemson overcame that in a big way Tuesday night as Harold Jamison had 12 points and 15 rebounds and the Tigers scored 20 second-chance points in defeating Rutgers 78-68 in the second round of the NIT.
“We take pride in rebounding every game. We know that’s our strength, being physical and outrebounding people,” Jamison said after Clemson advanced to a quarterfinal game at home against Butler (22-9) on Thursday night.
Clemson (18-14) had a plus-eight rebounding edge over opponents this season, but coach Larry Shyatt said that didn’t always translate into more points. He said the Tigers had 26 offensive rebounds against Florida State and got four or five extra baskets.
“I think our strength showed up at different points tonight with second and third shots,” said Shyatt, whose team outrebounded Rutgers 43-29, including 15-10 on the offensive boards. “We’ve had problems in the ACC not scoring on offensive rebounds. Tonight we put it back in the hole.”
Terrell McIntyre had 16 points and nine assists to lead a balanced scoring attack for Clemson, which shot 49 percent from the field. Will Solomon added 15 points and Andrius Jurkunas 14.
Dahntay Jones had 20 points to lead Rutgers (19-13), which was making its first postseason appearance since 1992. Rob Hodgson added 13 and Jeff Greer 11.
“A lot of times we overachieved and group rebounded, but we didn’t do it down the stretch and we didn’t do it tonight,” Rutgers coach Kevin Bannon said. “That’s the only thing you can do playing a physical team like this.”
The victory was only the second on an opponent’s court this season for Clemson, which opened the season with an 11-1 record and then lost 13 of 18 games down the stretch to miss out on an NCAA berth.
“Getting to the NIT final four and Madison Square Garden can erase all the negative thoughts we’ve had throughout this season,” Jamison said.
Clemson never trailed after a 23-9 spurt that bridged the final 6:38 of the first half and the opening 4:33 of the second. Tom Wideman had three putback baskets in the span in which he scored all eight of his points.
Jurkunas’ spectacular one-hand tip capped the run and gave Clemson a 47-33 lead with 15:27 to go.
The lead was still 14 points when Rutgers of the Big East got back into the game by hitting 5 of 6 shots from the field in a 14-4 spurt. Geoff Billet, who had nine points in his final college game, hit a 3-pointer to bring the Scarlet Knights within 55-51 with 9:36 to go.
With the lead still four points about two minutes later, Clemson put the game away by scoring 10 of the next 12 points, capped by a Jamison slam off a McIntrye feed.
Clemson used its size and defense to fuel two first-half spurts and take a 40-29 lead.
After Rutgers scored the first seven points, the Tigers reeled off 17 in a row while forcing the Scarlet Knights to miss nine straight shots. Jurkunas got the first five for Clemson with a 3-pointer and two free throws and Adam Allenspach came off the bench to hit consecutive shots to give Clemson the lead.
The Scarlet Knights responded with a 17-7 spurt and tied the game at 24 on a rebound follow by Joel Salvi with 7:02 left in the half.
Clemson didn’t allow another basket the rest of the half and took the lead for good on Wideman’s first rebound follow.
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