Sharrod Ford continued his outstanding performances on the road against ACC competition, but Maryland’s 52 percent field goal shooting was too much to overtime in the Terps 70-49 victory over Clemson at the Comcast Center on Feb. 24. The victory enhanced Maryland’s NCAA chances, giving the Terps a 14-10 record overall, 5-8 in the ACC. Clemson fell to 10-15 overall, 3-11 in the ACC.
Ford, the only native of Maryland on the Clemson team, had 14 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Tigers. He led Clemson in all three areas in his 35 minutes of play. It was the second straight year that Ford had played well in front of the hometown fans, as he had a double-double in the Comcast Center against Maryland his sophomore season. It was the fifth time in seven ACC road games that Ford has scored in double figures. Ford’s four blocked shots gives him 103 for his career, seventh highest in Clemson history.
Olu Babalola had nine points and four rebounds, while Shawan Robinson, Clemson’s top scorer in ACC play this year, had seven points and three rebounds. Vernon Hamilton had four points, but had four rebounds and three assists without a turnover. It gives Hamilton consecutive games without a turnover for the first time this year. He has now played 40 straight minutes without a miscue.
Field goal percentage and turnovers were keys to the game. Clemson shot just 16-51 from the field, 31.4 percent, Clemson’s low mark of the year. Maryland shot 52 percent from the field on 28-54, the best field goal percentage against Clemson this year. It was the first time in 25 games that an opponent had shot over 50 percent against Clemson all year. The Terps made 61 percent in the second half. Clemson had 22 turnovers that led to 17 Maryland points. Clemson had entered the game with three straight games of 15 or less, its best streak in that category all year.
Maryland had four players in double figures, led by John Gilchrist who had 19 points, six assists and five steals. D.J. Strawberry made his first career start memorable as he was 7-9 from the field and had 15 points. He added three steals and two blocked shots.
Maryland jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first half. Clemson made just two of its first 19 shots from the field over the game’s first 13 minutes. Maryland held that 17 point lead for most of the first half until Clemson went on a 6-0 run to close the stanza over the last two minutes of the half. Clemson had six different players score a field goal in the first half.
Maryland held a 52-36 lead in the second half on a three-point goal by Chris McCray, his only three-point attempt of the night. But, Clemson battled back and cut the margin to 53-44 with 6:19 left on a pair of free throws by Ford. Maryland then went on a 14-0 run to put the game out of reach and claim its 13th straight victory over Clemson.
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