Clemson 98, South Carolina 87
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)—Terrence Oglesby sounds like all the other good shooters.
“Even when I miss ‘em, I know they’re good,” he said.
Oglesby hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points as No. 20 Clemson improved to 13-0 for the second time in three seasons with a 98-87 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Two years ago, Clemson was the last unbeaten team in Division I, starting 17-0. Oglesby thinks these Tigers could make the current run last even longer.
“We’re not coming out lackadaisical like we were sometimes last year,” Oglesby said. “Coach (Oliver) Purnell has us playing hard, playing together. We all love each other.”
Oglesby finished 6-of-10 from behind the arc.
“He’s a big-time threat for us,” said Purnell, who is in his sixth season at Clemson. “He’s a dangerous player and, as long as he plays within himself, he’s like an assassin.”
South Carolina had cut Clemson’s 18-point lead to 68-60 and re-energized the Colonial Life Arena on Zam Fredrick’s 3 with 11:48 to go.
That’s when Oglesby struck with a long ball of his own.
The Gamecocks got it down to 71-65 about 2 minutes later and again Oglesby found the range. He added a layin off an inbounds steal to get the lead to 76-65.
Oglesby had his final 3 with 4:01 left, pushing Clemson’s lead to 87-76.
South Carolina behind Devan Downey’s career-high 37 points, made one more charge.
Downey stripped the ball from Demontez Stitt for a layup that made it 89-82. This time, K.C. Rivers got momentum back for the Tigers with a basket. Oglesby hit a free throw that came after first-year Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn was called for a technical.
Oglesby’s previous career high was 22 points in a win over East Carolina in December 2007.
Downey was 14-of-21 from the field to surpass his previous best of 30, set November 2007 against Penn State.
“We just can’t dig ourselves these kind of holes in big games,” Downey said. “We just can’t do it.”
Rivers finished with 20 points and Trevor Booker had 18 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.
Fredrick scored 19 points for South Carolina, while Mike Holmes had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
It was Clemson’s fifth straight victory in the series, a run that left Purnell in good spirits.
“It makes us feel good. It makes our fans feel good,” he said. “Half the fans in this state are happy and they’re wearing orange.”
The Gamecocks’ 9-1 start was their best since 2003-04.
Downey had two straight baskets as South Carolina opened an 8-0 lead. When Dominique Archie hit a 3-pointer 2 minutes later, the Gamecocks were up 14-3 and the crowd was howling.
Then Clemson’s depth, size and experience gradually wore down the Gamecocks. Rivers had two baskets to make it 21-17. Oglesby hit a 3-pointer and a reverse to give the Tigers a 22-21 lead. When Oglesby hit his third 3, Clemson was up 37-32.
Rivers, Clemson’s leading scorer coming in, had a jumper and two consecutive 3-pointers, both off turnovers as South Carolina tried to inbound the ball, to make it 52-38.
Rivers, Booker and Oglesby all reached double digits by halftime.
There’s no telling how things would have gone if the Gamecocks didn’t have Downey. The junior was 8-of-9 from the field and 21 points in the first half.
Purnell said Oglesby took a couple of ill-advised shots, which the player acknowledged still happens too frequently.
“I’ll hear it from Coach Purnell tomorrow,” Oglesby said.