Dec. 29, 2009
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Demontez Stitt made two free throws after Andre Young’s steal in the final minute and No. 21 Clemson avoided a big upset in its final nonconference game, holding off South Carolina State 70-67 on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (12-2) led by as many as 12 points in the second half and looked like they would cruise to their sixth straight win. Instead, the Bulldogs (6-4) made it 68-67 on Tyvon Williams’ driving basket with 27.1 seconds left.
South Carolina State had a chance to move in front its next trip down court when Young stole the ball from Khalif Toombs and fed it to Stitt, who was fouled and made both.
Jason Flagler put up a desperation shot from the left side of the 3-point line with three Tigers in his face as time expired.
Stitt and Noel Johnson both had 13 points for Clemson.
Darnell Porter led South Carolina State with 19 points.
The Tigers had seemed to find their stride since blowing a 23-point second-half lead and losing 76-74 to Illinois on Dec. 2. They won their previous five by an average margin of better than 23 points.
South Carolina State, of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, kept it close to the end.
The Tigers moved in front 44-32 with 19:14 left on Stitt’s 3-pointer. But the Bulldogs pushed the pace and made it 62-60 on Arsenio Williams’ basket with 7:04 remaining.
David Potter appeared to rescue Clemson with a 3 and a layup that made it 67-60. Again, South Carolina State rallied.
Toombs hit a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left that cut Clemson’s lead to three points. Young missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Williams scored his driving basket.
South Carolina State had two chances to tie the game in the last 14 seconds. After Stitt’s free throws, Trevor Booker intercepted an inbounds pass from halfcourt. However, he missed both foul shots setting up Flagler’s attempt as time ran out.
Booker finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for Clemson, which opens Atlantic Coast Conference play on Sunday night against No. 7 Duke.
Flagler had 16 points and Williams added 12 for South Carolina State, which fell to 1-9 all-time against Clemson.
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