Florida State vs Clemson

Clemson smothers No. 22 Seminoles for easy win


CLEMSON, S.C. -- Florida State found out from Clemson what it's like to play against a stifling defense.

Jerai Grant had 14 points, Demontez Stitt added 12 and the Tigers used their defense to upset No. 22 Florida State 62-44 on Saturday.

Clemson (15-6, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) forced 22 turnovers and held the Seminoles (15-6, 5-2) to less than 33 percent shooting from the field, numbers Florida State's opponents have typically put up this season.

Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton had little explanation for his team's poor performance, which followed a four-game win streak that gave them their best ACC start since 1992-93. The Seminoles, who ended Duke's undefeated season earlier this month, moved into the poll this week as the ACC's other ranked school. That's likely to be short-lived with the loss.

"We're a big, strong, physical team," Hamilton said. "But their physicality knocked us back on our heels."

And it happened quickly.

Clemson rushed to a 22-6 lead and the Seminoles never got closer than eight the rest of the way. It was the first victory against a ranked opponent for first-year Tigers coach Brad Brownell.

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The Seminoles had no answers for Clemson, with no player reaching double-figure scoring. Leading scorer Chris Singleton managed just two points the first 35 minutes. He hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, but those came with Florida State well behind.

Singleton finished with eight points, nearly seven fewer than his average. Bernard James also had eight points to lead Florida State.

"We never seemed to be able to get back to that level of confidence in our offensive execution," Hamilton said.

It was a surprising stumble since the Seminoles entered the game 10-8 in ACC road games the past three years, a mark that trailed only Duke's 11-8 record.

"There are moral victories and I guess there are moral losses," Hamilton said. "Hopefully, we will learn from this that life on the road in the ACC this year will be a lot of these type of games for the visiting teams."

Brownell took over last spring after Oliver Purnell left for the DePaul job. With longtime star Trevor Booker off to the NBA, Brownell figured to have a difficult time installing his motion offense.

However, with seniors Grant and Stitt leading the way, the Tigers have had a surprising start to the ACC season. They rallied from 19 points down to beat North Carolina State 60-50 at home Tuesday night and kept the run going against Florida State.

Devin Booker, a 6-foot-8 forward and Trevor's brother, hit two wide-open 3-pointers and completed a three-point play early in the game. Cory Stanton followed with two foul shots that pushed Clemson to a 22-6 lead with 12:01 to go. Then the Tigers went cold, missing their final 14 shots of the half.

Florida State crept back into the game with a 12-5 closing run. Still, the Seminoles had their struggles that kept them from tightening things up even more and trailed 27-18 at the half.

Singleton didn't play the final 13 minutes of the first period after getting two fouls. The Seminoles had 15 turnovers in the period, more than in each of their past three victories.

Singleton's time on the bench had nothing to do with Florida State's loss, Hamilton said.

Clemson pulled away in the second half. Stitt opened with a driving basket and a 3-pointer. Tanner Smith, a starter who missed the past two games with a knee sprain, nailed a long-range basket.

When Stitt made his second 3 with 12:27 left, the Tigers were ahead 42-20.

Stitt said the Tigers read an article about Florida State's defensive improvements and the players vowed to use a similar mindset.

"We wanted to put pressure on them on the offensive and defensive end," Stitt said. "It was tough for them to score."

Clemson introduced several past players, including longtime NBA standout Wayne "Tree" Rollins, before the game. The Tigers might have wanted to sneak the 7-footer onto the court to have a chance against the taller Seminoles.

Instead, Clemson played shoulder-to-shoulder with Florida State under the boards. Grant led the way with eight rebounds, including five offensive.

The Seminoles shot just 4 of 17 from 3-point range. They also had 22 turnovers, tied for their second-highest total this season.

Clemson looked in disarray last month after consecutive losses to Michigan, rival South Carolina and at Florida State to open ACC play. Since then, the Tigers have won 10 of 12 and made themselves a factor in the league race.

Brownell, who led North Carolina Wilmington and Wright State to the NCAA tournament, isn't worried about anything but the next game.

"We've had a good home week," Brownell said. "But we've got a lot more to do before we're significant."

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Jerai Grant slams home two of his game-high 14 points, then must quickly try to avoid the aftermath.  (US Presswire)
Jerai Grant slams home two of his game-high 14 points, then must quickly try to avoid the aftermath. (US Presswire)
Florida State #22 (15-6)182644
Clemson (15-6) «273562
FLST:C. Singleton 8 Pts
FLST:D. Kitchen 6 Reb
FLST:L. Loucks 4 Ast
CLEM:J. Grant 14 Pts
CLEM:J. Grant 8 Reb
CLEM:D. Stitt 6 Ast

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Florida StateClemson
Derwin Kitchen
Jerai Grant
Florida State Seminoles
M. Snaer, G352-71-24135
D. Kitchen, G302-42-26116
B. James, F263-72-24028
C. Singleton, F243-90-22048
T. Shannon, F201-60-05012
D. Dulkys, G190-30-02010
I. Miller, G132-40-00116
J. Kreft, F-C122-61-25055
L. Loucks, G111-12-20434
O. White, F100-20-01010
X. Gibson, F-CDid Not Play
P. Jordan, GDid Not Play
J. Moreau, GDid Not Play
A. Yawn, GDid Not Play
A. Rutledge, FDid Not Play
R. Portuondo, GDid Not Play
Totals 16-498-122972244
Clemson Tigers
D. Stitt, G385-100-146012
A. Young, G343-100-03239
D. Booker, F-C313-81-16019
J. Grant, F-C295-114-680014
B. Narcisse, F210-32-21132
Z. Anderson, G160-10-03320
T. Smith, G112-22-22127
M. Jennings, F111-23-44035
C. Stanton, G50-24-42004
J. Baize, F20-00-00000
C. Baciu, C10-00-00000
D. Hopkins, G10-00-00010
Totals 19-4916-2033131562
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina5-216-42
Boston College3-313-664
NC State3-313-673
Georgia Tech3-310-9140
Florida St.3-414-545
Notre Dame3-413-760
Miami (Fla.)2-313-422
Va. Tech2-413-685
Wake Forest1-58-10132
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Louisville 79 Final
UConn 78
GTOWN 69 Final
Florida 64 Final
Miss St 71
Minn 61 Final
Purdue 73
Tx A&M 48 Final
Nebraska 57
Syracuse 70 Final
MU 76
Georgia 60 Final
Kentucky 66
BYU 77 Final
N Mexico 86
Wisc 52 Final
PSU 56
Ohio St 58 Final
Nwstern 57
Arkansas 89 Final
K-State 66 Final
Kansas 90
PITT 65 Final
RUT 62
Missouri 58 Final
Texas 71
Wyoming 57 Final