Hammonds lifts Tigers past Seminoles
Tallahassee, FL (Sports Network) – Cliff Hammonds’ dramatic shot with three
seconds left in regulation was the difference, as 23rd-ranked Clemson slipped
by Florida State, 68-66 in a tense contest at the Tucker Center.
Vernon Hamilton posted 19 points for Clemson (15-0, 1-0 ACC). K.C. Rivers
scored 16, and James Mays recorded 14 points and six rebounds. Hammonds
poured in nine, including a key three-pointer, and Trevor Booker notched a
team-high nine boards for the Tigers.
Al Thornton netted 19, Isaiah Swann scored 13, and Jason Rich picked up 12 for
Florida State (12-3, 0-1 ACC), which had its eight-game winning streak
snapped, and lost its first home game of the season.
After Ryan Reid’s tip-in with just under seven seconds left deadlocked the
game at 66 apiece, Hammonds put the nail in Florida State’s coffin as he
eluded the Seminoles’ defense for an easy layup with three seconds remaining,
putting Clemson ahead 68-66.
The Seminoles last chance fell well short, and Clemson escaped Tallahassee
with a win in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
The Tigers broke out to leads of 7-2 and 11-6 in the early stages, and Mays’
slam midway through the half boosted them to an 18-11 advantage. Florida
State would come no closer than five points until Thornton’s three-point play
with 4:51 to go brought the Seminoles within 31-27.
However, Clemson would open up a 12-point lead at 41-29 before FSU reversed
that momentum and closed out the half on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to
At the outset of the second half, the home team would hang tough, eventually
drawing within three points, 51-48, as Jason Rich sank three from the free-
throw line in a 12-second span. Ralph Mims also hit two free throws to make it
a 56-54 game with 6:28 to go.
Thornton’s lay-in with 5:49 remaining pulled the Seminoles into a 56-56 tie,
and when Toney Douglas made 1-of-2 from the line at the 2:20 mark, Florida
State led 62-61. The euphoria was short-lived, as Hammonds’ three-ball
on the Tigers’ next possession restored a two-point cushion.
Mays added another bucket with just under a minute to play for a 66-62 lead,
but Thornton’s make with 36 seconds on the clock put FSU down only two once
more, as a prelude to the final frantic seconds.
Despite the loss, Florida State leads the all-time series, 25-22…Clemson
shot 48 percent from the floor (30-of-63), while Florida State connected on 46
percent (23-of-50) of its shots…Neither team found the range from beyond the
arc, going a combined 10-of-37 for the game…Florida State committed 21
turnovers, including a game-high five by Swann.