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Blossomgame's 15 helps Clemson to 62-60 win over S. Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) A victory outside the ACC that will catch the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee's attention is rare for Clemson. To get it over the Tigers' bitter in-state rival is even better.

Jaron Blossomgame had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Clemson to a 62-60 victory over No. 22 South Carolina in a game Wednesday night where neither team led by more than four points.

The Tigers (9-2) jumped around and pointed after the final buzzer of their seventh straight win. One of them shouted ''This is our city!'' as Clemson beat a ranked non-conference team on the road for the first time in the program's history.

And for a Clemson team that has missed the NCAA Tournament for five of coach Brad Brownell's six seasons - often because of a poor resume outside of Atlantic Coast Conference play - it's a win that could mean a lot in March.

''That doesn't build anything but toughness. Mental toughness. For us to come in fight the refs, fight the crowd - our backs against the wall and get the win is just amazing,'' said Marcquise Reed who scored 14 points and hit two free throws with 52.5 seconds left that put Clemson ahead for good, 59-58.

PJ Dozier had a career-high 26 points for the Gamecocks (9-2), but missed a possible game-winning 3-point attempt just before the buzzer. The sophomore has scored 20 points or more in his past five games and set a career best for the second straight time.

But South Carolina didn't get him involved at critical times. Down 59-58 in the final minute, the Gamecocks missed two 3-point attempts on one possession and Dozier never touched the ball.

''He's trying to win the game,'' South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. ''He did everything he could to help us tonight.''

Clemson shot 41.2 percent (21 of 51) against a South Carolina defense that came in ranked third in the country allowing teams to make just 34.6 percent of their shots.

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: Clemson is 3-0 against Southeastern Conference teams after beating Georgia and Alabama. ... Elijah Thomas had 12 points and seven rebounds in his second game with Clemson. His contribution was critical as starting center Sidy Djitte had no points and three rebounds, fouling out in 14 minutes.

South Carolina: Chris Silva added 14 points. ... Silva and Dozier shot a combined 52 percent (14 of 27). The rest of the Gamecocks shot a combined 23 percent (8 of 35). ... All- SEC preseason first-teamer Sindarius Thornwell was suspended for a fourth straight game. ... The Gamecocks forced 15 turnovers against a Clemson team that averaged 10.2 turnovers a game.

HOW BIG A WIN?

Reed said Clemson's win is the kind of victory that builds confidence down the line and can pay dividends for years.

''We wanted to own this state. We beat Georgia, and now we beat them,'' Reed said.

Brownell tempered his enthusiasm some, saying it is way too early to make postseason predictions.

''They are going to have a great year. They are going to win a bunch of games. To win a game like this on the road is extremely difficult,'' Brownell said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A second loss in three games could drop South Carolina out of the AP Top 25 after four weeks in the rankings. Expect Clemson to get more than the one vote in the poll it received this week after this win.

UP NEXT

Clemson wraps up its non-conference schedule at home against UNC-Wilmington on Dec. 28.

South Carolina hosts Division II Lander on Tuesday.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  Defensive rebound by Donte Grantham 1.0
  PJ Dozier missed 3-pt. jump shot 2.0
  Defensive rebound by PJ Dozier 9.0
  Avry Holmes missed 2nd of 2 free throws 9.0
Team Stats
Points 62 60
Field Goals 21-51 (41.2%) 22-62 (35.5%)
3-Pointers 3-16 (18.8%) 2-16 (12.5%)
Free Throws 17-27 (63.0%) 14-20 (70.0%)
Total Rebounds 36 35
Offensive 11 13
Defensive 23 19
Team 2 3
Assists 8 10
Steals 9 8
Blocks 5 4
Turnovers 14 13
Fouls 21 22
Technicals 1 0
15 PTS, 10 REB, 2 AST
26 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST
12T
away team logo Clemson 9-2 293362
home team logo 22 South Carolina 9-2 253560
Team Stats
away team logo Clemson 9-2 75.2 PPG 37.8 RPG 13.6 APG
home team logo 22 South Carolina 9-2 69.5 PPG 40.5 RPG 12.7 APG
Key Players
00
J. Blossomgame F PPG RPG APG FG%
00
P. Dozier G PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
J. Blossomgame F 15 PTS 10 REB 2 AST
P. Dozier G 26 PTS 8 REB 5 AST
41.2 FG% 35.5
18.8 3PT FG% 12.5
63.0 FT% 70.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Blossomgame 34 15 10 2 2 1 2 3 6/15 0/4 3/5 3 7
D. Grantham 28 8 4 1 1 1 3 0 3/7 2/4 0/0 1 3
A. Holmes 27 6 1 1 1 0 1 2 1/6 1/5 3/4 0 1
S. Mitchell 24 4 1 1 0 1 7 4 2/8 0/1 0/0 0 1
S. Djitte 14 0 3 1 1 1 1 5 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Blossomgame 34 15 10 2 2 1 2 3 6/15 0/4 3/5 3 7
D. Grantham 28 8 4 1 1 1 3 0 3/7 2/4 0/0 1 3
A. Holmes 27 6 1 1 1 0 1 2 1/6 1/5 3/4 0 1
S. Mitchell 24 4 1 1 0 1 7 4 2/8 0/1 0/0 0 1
S. Djitte 14 0 3 1 1 1 1 5 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
M. Reed 23 14 3 1 2 0 0 1 4/7 0/2 6/6 2 1
E. Thomas 26 12 7 0 1 1 0 4 4/6 0/0 4/6 2 5
G. DeVoe 24 3 5 1 1 0 0 2 1/2 0/0 1/6 2 3
R. McGillan - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Davis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Hudson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Robertin - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Fields - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Spencer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 62 34 8 9 5 14 21 21/51 3/16 17/27 11 23
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
P. Dozier 34 26 8 5 4 2 4 2 10/22 2/5 4/5 3 5
C. Silva 22 14 4 1 0 1 1 5 4/5 0/0 6/7 1 3
M. Kotsar 27 10 8 0 2 0 0 2 5/13 0/0 0/1 6 2
D. Notice 36 4 2 2 0 0 2 3 1/9 0/5 2/3 1 1
J. McKie 29 3 5 2 1 0 2 2 1/5 0/3 1/2 1 4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
P. Dozier 34 26 8 5 4 2 4 2 10/22 2/5 4/5 3 5
C. Silva 22 14 4 1 0 1 1 5 4/5 0/0 6/7 1 3
M. Kotsar 27 10 8 0 2 0 0 2 5/13 0/0 0/1 6 2
D. Notice 36 4 2 2 0 0 2 3 1/9 0/5 2/3 1 1
J. McKie 29 3 5 2 1 0 2 2 1/5 0/3 1/2 1 4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
H. Gravett 18 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 1/4 0/2 0/0 0 0
K. Gueye 17 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 0/0 0/0 1/2 1 0
J. Holliman 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 2
R. Felder 5 0 1 0 0 1 3 1 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 1
S. Keita 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 1
S. Thornwell - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Blanton - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Ragin - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Corchiani - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Tut - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Schmitt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Hinson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 60 32 10 8 4 13 22 22/62 2/16 14/20 13 19