No. 13 Clemson beats Maryland 93-64
CLEMSON, S.C (AP)—Trevor Booker’s favorite play of the game was the one-handed rebound dunk on the missed 3-pointer. The Clemson junior thought the no-look, over-the-head pass to an open teammate for an easy layup was sweet, too.
Booker had 11 points and 14 rebounds in the 13th-ranked Tigers’ 93-64 victory over Maryland on Tuesday night, but he did plenty of things big men aren’t usually expected to do, like bury a backbreaking 3-pointer and stopping the other team’s fast break cold with a steal.
Booker took five shots from the field and one from the free throw line and made them all. But Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said Booker knows when teams are sending two and three guys to stop him inside and makes defenses pay in other ways.
“Book goes and gets it. He blocks shots, he runs, he passes,” Purnell said of the 6-foot-7 Booker. “He changes the game. He has that kind of ability.”
For Clemson (21-4, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), the win helps erase any lingering doubt from a puzzling overtime loss to Virginia two days earlier, and keeps the Tigers in the top three in the ACC. It was Clemson’s second conference win of 27 points or more this season. In their previous 55 ACC seasons, the Tigers have beaten a league team by that many points just eight times.
The loss pushes the Terrapins (16-9, 5-6) closer to missing the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. They have games in the next eight days against No. 9 Duke, which beat them by 41 points in January, and No. 3 North Carolina, which got a 108-91 win over them earlier this month.
Maryland coach Gary Williams looked grim after the game, but refused to knock his players.
“We’re a good basketball team. We’re 5-6 in the league, and we’ve got some big games coming up,” Williams said.
Landon Milbourne scored 13 points and Greivis Vasquez added 12 for the Terrapins.
Clemson never trailed after the first 6 minutes of the game, and went on a 43-17 run that started from the last minute of the first half. With the Tigers up two, Terrence Oglesby made two free throws and K.C. Rivers had a steal and a dunk with 2 seconds left to put them ahead 34-28 at halftime.
The run continued into the second half with Booker setting the tone by grabbing Oglesby’s missed 3 with one hand and slamming it home to put Clemson ahead 42-35 with 17:32 to go. Booker called it one of the best plays of his career, as Oglesby admired the work from the corner.
“That dunk is just unique athleticism,” Oglesby said. “The funny thing was, I was like, ‘there’s no way, he mistimed that jump.’ But he just kept going.”
Booker stepped out and buried his ninth 3-pointer of the season to put Clemson ahead by 10 points about 4 minutes into the half, stole the ball from behind to stop a Maryland fast break less than a minute later and threw a no-look hook pass over his head to Rivers for a layup that put the Tigers up 24 with just over 10 minutes to go.
“I try to do whatever I can to help my team out. Tonight, I think it was my passing. They tried to double down on me, I kicked it out, we moved the ball around and we knocked down the open shots,” Booker said.
During the run, Clemson hit five 3s, and scored on 11 of 12 possessions at one point. Oglesby’s layup with 9:30 to go ended a run of Clemson scoring on six straight possessions and the Tigers took a 73-45 lead.
Eight Tigers scored during the run.
“What we try to do every night is wear teams out. You need at least nine guys to do that. And they need to be effective guys. I thought all of our guys were effective tonight,” Purnell said.
Oglesby led Clemson with 16 points and Demontez Stitt added 15. Six players scored in double figures for the Tigers, who shot 37-of-64 (57.8 percent) from the field and held Maryland to 23-of-60 shooting (38.3 percent).
“We did a great job knocking down the shots. That’s going to help us in the future. Teams may not double me as much,” Booker said.
But Oglesby said let the double-teams keep coming because that gives him and his teammates the open 3s they crave,
“He’s just so dominant. He doesn’t have to score 25, 30 points to be dominant,” Oglesby said. “Defensively he’s a presence, offensively, obviously he is a presence. They triple-team him every time he touches the ball. He played a great game. and obviously we play off of him. He’s a big-time player.”