CLEMSON, S.C. -- Milton Jennings always has been a talker on the basketball court.
Saturday he was a screamer.
Jennings scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half as Clemson pulled away from Virginia for a 59-44 Atlantic Coast Conference victory Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.
"We got that first stop (of the game) and I was already yelling," Jennings said. "And I never stopped. When we did anything, I was cheering.
"I think that transferred over to keep everybody's motor running today."
Jennings' motor was stuck on full throttle.
The senior forward, who struggled miserably and managed just six points in Clemson's 28-point loss at top-ranked Duke on Tuesday, was a different player against the Cavaliers, connecting on 5 of 8 shots from beyond the arc and corralling a game-high 11 rebounds.
Jennings made four 3-pointers in the second half to highlight a final 20 minutes that saw the Tigers make 10 of 14 shots. His 16 second-half points matched his total output in the Tigers' first two ACC games of the season.
Fellow senior Devin Booker narrowly missed his third straight double-double in ACC play, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Clemson (9-6, 1-2 ACC) held Virginia to its lowest point total since a 63-44 loss at Boston College in 2011 and the Tigers avoided their first 0-3 start in ACC play since 1999-2000.
Virginia, which had won 10 of its last 12 games, slipped to 11-5, 1-2.
Joe Harris, a junior guard who has scored in double figures in 14 of 16 games, scored 14 points to lead the Cavaliers, who shot just 35.4 percent.
"They're certainly good with their two seniors," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "Booker is very physical, probably the most physical interior presence that we've seen.
"And they can put a little pressure on you with Jennings, especially when he's hitting bank shots from three."
Clemson, coming off its worst performance of the season at Duke, showed plenty of grit against a defensive-minded Virginia squad that entered the game ranked third nationally in scoring defense.
"We had a determined spirit," said Jennings, who fell just one point shy of matching his career high. "I think losing our first two (ACC) games brought everybody together. Nobody wanted to lose this one."
The game was close throughout the first half. There were four lead changes and five ties in the first half, and neither team led by more than four points, but Clemson managed to forge ahead 24-20 by halftime.
The Tigers went 7:40 without a field goal late in the half, but stayed close by connecting on 9 of 13 free throws and forcing nine Virginia turnovers.
The second half was a different story. Jennings hit back-to-back 3s early in the second half as Clemson bolted to a nine-point lead, 33-24, 5 minutes in. Virginia cut the Tigers' lead to four on a 3-pointer by Evan Nolte with 14 minutes to play, but that was as close as the Cavaliers would get.
"We were a little more rugged than we were last week," said Bennett, whose team was coming off a three-point loss at Wake Forest. "But after a while I think they wore us down.
"They're hard to score against. Our games against Clemson are always a grind that way."
Even Clemson coach Brad Brownell got in on Jennings' vocal attitude, pausing to implore the crowd to pump up the volume during a key second-half stretch.
"I don't do that very often, but our team is working so hard," Brownell said. "We are not a very dynamic offensive team, obviously, so the defensive end is where the crowd can help us the most. I was just encouraging them to stand up and support their guys."
Notes: Clemson freshman guard Jordan Roper, who was averaging 20 minutes and 6.2 points per game, missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury. ... Freshman Adonis Filer leads Clemson with 60 free throw attempts; the last freshman to lead the team in free throw attempts was Sharone Wright in 1991-92. ... Virginia's freshmen are averaging 23.3 points per game, which is the highest figure since the Cavaliers freshmen averaged 27.3 points in 2003-04. ... Virginia junior forward Akil Mitchell is averaging career-highs in points (12.6) and rebounds (9.3).