By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) –
Clemson’s Edward Scott knew it could be this way, with teammates jumping around and celebrating a victory. North Carolina State coach Herb Sendek knew it could be this way, too. And he hopes he never has to watch it again.
“We were not for one second unaware of their potential against us. Not withstanding that awareness, we were incapable of overcoming their defensive effort,” said Sendek, whose 21st-ranked Wolfpack lost 59-42 to Clemson on Thursday night.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Tigers (7-12, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference). It was the Wolfpack’s lowest point total since a 38-36 loss to Princeton on Nov. 12, 1997, and lowest in an ACC game since a 51-42 loss at Clemson on Jan. 18, 1997.
Scott, who missed the past three games with torn cartilage in his chest, had 10 points and steadied the Tigers when Will Solomon, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer, was in foul trouble.
“The feeling is indescribable,” the freshman said. “Everybody picked us not to even win a game in the ACC. And we did it against a great State team. And it wasn’t down to the last basket, we really did it kind of convincingly.”
Especially with North Carolina State’s uncharacteristic play in the game, delayed a day by the East Coast snow storm.
The Wolfpack (13-4, 4-3) trailed 8-0 after three minutes, went almost eight minutes without a field goal and were 5-of-20 from the field in the first 20 minutes.
But behind Archie Miller’s five 3-pointers, four in the second half, the Wolfpack trailed 42-38 with 7:35 to go. They did not score again until Anthony Grundy’s follow shot with 12 seconds remaining. Clemson closed with a 17-4 run.
North Carolina State finished 15-of-50 overall and 7-of-24 from 3-point range. Miller led the Wolfpack with 15 points. No one else broke double figures.
“This was not a good performance for us,” Sendek said. But Sendek says he feels his team can put it behind them in time for Saturday’s home game with Arizona State.
“That’s all you can do,” he said. “You can’t continue in celebration mode after big wins and you can’t commiserate or hold a pity party when you lose.”
Solomon scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half. He followed Grundy’s 3-pointer with a basket, then started Clemson’s final run after Miller’s last 3-pointer.
“This win is great for the team,” Clemson coach Larry Shyatt said. “All wins are equally as good, but to be victorious over a ranked team is excellent for these guys.”
When the game ended, Solomon and his teammates leaped around like they won a championship instead of their first league game.
“We knew we were coming to something like this,” said Solomon, who came in leading the league at almost 22 points a game.
Solomon said Scott and several other Tigers were healthy and ready at practice, something they hadn’t been most of the year. “We finally played like it was fun, like it was practice,” he said.
Adam Allenspach finished with 12 points, eight in the first half, for the Tigers, while Andrius Jurkunas had 10.
Both teams struggled to get things going. After its poor first half, North Carolina State went almost four minutes into the second half without a basket. Clemson wasn’t that much sharper. After their hot start, the Tigers made just one field goal and scored only two points over the next 12 minutes.
Allenspach scored six points down the stretch as Clemson led 23-17 at halftime.
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