Clemson Tigers

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The Clemson Tigers were set to clinch their second straight winning season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They'd won two straight games and three of its last four contests. They held an impressive overall ranking at 22-5, and with a record of 8-5 in the conference stood at 12th.

Terrance Oglesby scored 22 points including six three pointers and 11 rebounds. Trevor Booker achieved his 10th double double of the season, and K.C. Rivers sank 11 points and rebounded 10.

It wasn't enough. The Tigers fell short, suffering a heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech (80-77) on February 25 at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The first half recorded seven lead changes and the two teams were never separated by more than seven points. With 8:49 left before halftime, Clemson gained control with a tip in by Trevor Booker. For the rest of the half, Clemson, with Virginia Tech nipping at their heels, was unable to gain more than a five point lead. They went into the second half with a 38-35 lead.

In an Article by Roy Philpott at cutigers.com, Purnell said "I was really disappointed with our ball handling in the first half. We just weren't very sharp with the ball. We struggled with that against Virignia a few weeks ago. That kept us from having a pretty good working margin at halftime."

The last minute of the game held some missed chances for the Tigers. A foul by Demontez Stitt with 17 seconds left on the clock allowed A.D. Vassallo two points from the charity line. Stitt had a chance to redeem himself with 6 seconds left, but a missed three pointer clinched the win for Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech only allowed Booker six points in the second half, after scoring 15 in the first.

"Down the stretch we just couldn't make a shot in the lane," Purnell said. "Book was 2-for-9 [in the second half] and we got him the ball where we wanted. Demontez slashed inside and couldn't get it to go down.

"I thought at the end it came down to us needing a shot and we couldn't make it."

Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg put it all in prospective in his first comment to the media afterwards, "When you consider the recent history of these games, a three-point win is like a blowout. These games have turned into epic games, they really have."

A.D. Vassallo added 21 points for Virginia Tech, and Malcom Delaney scored 26 points, 17 in the second half. He scored three points and then added two points from the charity line, putting Virginia Tech up 68-61 with 9:21 left in the game. Delaney has scored 37 points in the last month alone making him the top scorer in the ACC.

So what's next for the Tigers?

"We need to win all three, that's the bottom line," Oglesby said of Clemson stretch drive. "We really need to step up and practice and get better at the little things that we've been so good at during our wins this year."

Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on tv and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of college football. Check out his Clemson Tiger Gear or his Golden Bears Store

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