March 29, 2010
CLEMSON, SC – Butler defeated Kansas State this past Saturday to advance to the Final Four of the 2010 NCAA Tournament where they will face Michigan State on April 3 in the national semifinals. Clemson defeated the Bulldogs in Anaheim, CA at the 76 Classic back on November 29 in the seventh game of the year, 70-69.
Clemson now has nine wins in its history over schools that reached the Final Four. This year’s win over Butler is the first time the program has beaten a Final Four team during their Final Four season since the 1996-97 season when Clemson defeated Kentucky, 79-71, in the season opener in Indianapolis. The Wildcats under Head Coach Rick Pitino then went on to the National Championship game.
The first time Clemson beat a team that went to the Final Four was in 1966-67 when the Tigers under Bobby Roberts beat Dean Smith’s North Carolina team that went to the Final Four, 92-88 in the North-South Doubleheader in Charlotte. Clemson beat Duke three straight years between 1988-90 when it went to the Final Four.
Clemson’s only win over a team that eventually won the National Championship came during the 1980-81 season. The Tigers defeated Indiana, 58-57 in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu on December 29, 1980. The Hoosiers under Bobby Knight then went on to the NCAA Championship with a victory over North Carolina in Philadelphia the following April.
Clemson defeated Butler this past November by one point thanks to a second half comeback and some big plays down the stretch. Demontez Stitt was the top scorer with 19 points, while Trevor Booker added 12 points and eight rebounds. Andre Young scored 12 points off the bench and Milton Jennings added seven.
Butler shot 54 percent from the field, but the Tigers still gained the victory, one of just two games all year that Clemson allowed 50 percent field goal shooting and still won the game. Butler led 33-26 at intermission, but Clemson overcame the deficit to win. It was the largest halftime deficit overcome to gain victory by Clemson this year and the only game all year that Butler lost after it had the lead at intermission.
Stitt made two free throws to put Clemson ahead 70-69 with 3.3 seconds left. Then Trevor Booker blocked a shot on Butler’s final possession to preserve the victory. Gordon Hayward led Butler with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Shelvin Mack added 15 for Butler, who has lost just four games all season and has won 24 in a row.
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