Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SUNDAY HOOPS

No. 25 CLEMSON 91, MIAMI 72 – The Tigers continue to be the Lords of December routing what most thought was a much improved Miami squad. K.C. Rivers scored 28 points and No. 25 Clemson easily overcame an early 12-point deficit on the way to beating Miami 91-72 Sunday night in the ACC opener for both teams. As long as Clemson can stay our of close games where their long-time Achilles heel, the dreaded free throw, comes into play, they will continue to be tough.

Terrence Oglesby added 17 points for the Tigers (12-0, 1-0), who kept pace with No. 3 Pittsburgh for Division I's best record this season.

Jack McClinton scored 20 points for Miami (7-3, 0-1) The Canes committed one million turnovers – OK, it was 22, but it was a gamebreaker. Miami tossed up 12 turnovers in the final 11 minutes of the first half, a stretch where the Hurricanes were outscored 29-9 -- and then Clemson put the spookie-do whammy on them causing the Canes to miss 12 of their first 17 free throws.

VIRGINIA TECH 81, St. Johns (Red Storm,14,983 students, Queens, NY) 67 – The Hokies used a strong second half performance to to successfully defend their title in the 2008 Aeropostale Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening.

Virginia Tech, now 8-4 overall, took a 39-35 lead into the intermission, but used a balanced attack to outscore the Red Storm, 42-32 in the second half. St. John’s, now 9-2 on the season, was able to keep the game close in the early stages of the second half, but the 1-3-1 zone and the clutch shooting of Tech’s backcourt helped the Hokies pull off the win.

Malcolm Delaney won the Lou Carnesecca Award for being tourney MVP. Delaney scored 25 points and had nine rebounds in the Hokies’ first round win over Columbia, 64-52, on Saturday afternoon.

No. 3 Pittsburgh (Panthers, 27,020 students, Pittsburgh, PA) 81, FLORIDA STATE 67 – The Little Seminoles that could came up a bit short in a typical Big East style low-scoring grind of a game. Pitt’s Sam Young scored 21 points, including two critical baskets in the final 1:51, and the Panthers overcame a woeful 33 percent shooting effort.

Pitt (12-0) nearly wasted a 17-0 run keyed by two 3-points shots by Jermaine Dixon that gave them a 43-34 lead with 8:53 left. But Florida State (11-2) made one last push, tying the game at 48 on Uche Echefu's (bless you) jumper with 2:23 left.

(AP Photos/Jeffrey M. Boan and Steve Cannon)

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