Clemson Wins Conference Opener
CLEMSON, S.C.(AP) — Andre Young scored 18 points, Milton Jennings added 15 points and Clemson started Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 79-59 victory over Florida State on Saturday. The Tigers (9-6, 1-0) took control of this one early with a 20-0 run in the first half as the Seminoles (9-6, 0-1) struggled to find any offense. Florida State’s leading scorer coming in, Michael Snaer, was held to seven points about half his 13.6 point a game average. Clemson quickly turned the game into a rout. Reserve center Catalin Baciu had seven points during the Tigers charge while Young and Jennings had four apiece. Florida State missed 10 straight shots during the stretch as Clemson pulled out to a 32-10 lead. Ian Miller led Florida State with 16 points. Snaer scored 22 points in Florida State’s last game — an 85-56 win over Auburn last Wednesday night. He lost that touch at Littlejohn Coliseum, though, and was held to 3 of 8 shooting. Then again, not too many Seminoles had strong shooting games. Florida State was just 22 of 61 (36 percent) in losing to Clemson for the fourth time in the past five meetings. Young had two 3-pointers and was 10 of 12 from the foul line. Jennings was dominant inside with 7 of 10 shooting and added eight rebounds. Tanner Smith scored 13 points and freshman Rod Hall 11 points for the Tigers. Clemson and Florida State were both looking to make an early ACC statement after up-and-down nonconference play, particularly in tournaments. The Seminoles rose to No. 22 in the rankings off a 5-0 start, but fell to Harvard and then defending national champion Connecticut in the Battle4Atlantis in the Bahamas. Florida State also lost to a second Ivy League opponent, falling to Princeton in triple overtime last week. The Tigers also struggled in their early games. They lost to instate mid-majors Coastal Carolina and College of Charleston, both at home, then lost two of three games at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, last month. Clemson, 11th in ACC points and field goal percentage coming in, figured to have its hands full with Florida State’s defense. But it was the Tigers coming out quick for a 10-3 lead. When the Seminoles rallied back, Clemson took off on a crushing, 20-0 run over an eight minute span to go in front 32-10. Little used big man, 7-foot-2 Catalin Baciu led the charge and attacked the Seminoles big men. His two foul shots began Clemson’s surge, then he added a three-point play and a power dunk over the next three minutes to increase the lead to 21-10. Hall, Jennings and Smith all beat Florida State’s stunned players to the basket as Clemson’s edge grew to 17 points. Jennings had a jam with 5:58 left for the Tigers biggest lead, 32-10. Florida State showed some life during an 8-2 run of their own that included Terry Whisnant’s four-point play and trailed 36-22 halftime. But Young got the Tigers going after the break with a 3-pointer and Clemson built a 22-point lead midway through the second half. The Seminoles missed 10 straight shots during Clemson’s run. They finished just 8 of 26 from the field and committed 10 turnovers in the period. Their percentage picked up in the second half, but most buckets came with Clemson comfortably in front. The Tigers could do little wrong. Even walk-on Carson Fields got a late bucket that brought the crowd at Littlejohn to its feet.