Friday, March 20, 2009

CLEMSON LOSES UGLY GAME TO FOOTBALL SCHOOL

No. 10 MICHIGAN 62, No. 7 CLEMSON 59 - Oliver Purnell and his Clemson (23-9) squad can't catch a break. In only their second Big Dance trip after a 10 year hiatus, the fly-out-of-the gate-but-fade-in-the-stretch Tigers were stymied by the Wolverines' zone defense shooting 32 percent from the field and 22 percent from behind the arc.

The Clemson guards had a particularly rough game solving the Michigan zone going 5 of 27 from the field. Demonstrative of the shooting woes was Terrence Oglesby who was 1 of 7 from the field. Oglesby was averaging 13 points coming into the game. Ultimately, he would throw an elbow and get tossed from the game. That pretty much sums up Clemson's night.

Showing little sign of nerves in their first NCAA game since a booster scandal rocked the program in the 1990s, the Wolverines (21-13) handled (mostly) Clemson's frenetic press and held one of the nation's highest-scoring teams 20 points below its average. Manny Harris had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Stu Douglass added 12 points for the Wolverines.

After facing mostly man coverage during the ACC season, the seventh-seeded Tigers had to dust off their zone offense and struggled early. Jumpers, 3-pointers, layups - didn't matter. Clemson couldn't seem to get the hang of Michigan's defense and clanged shot after shot.

Even with their offensive woes, the Tigers still managed to make it interesting.

Sparked by consecutive 3-pointers by Andre Young and another by K.C. Rivers, the Tigers started finding holes in Michigan's defense and went on a 14-0 run to make it 58-57 with just under a minute left. Clemson still had a shot after Michigan's Zack Novak hit just 1 of 2 free throws with 13 seconds left, but Rivers' contested 3-pointer at the buzzer was well short.

Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rivers added 13 points.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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