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January 29, 2011
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)-Jerai Grant had 14 points, Demontez Stitt added 12 and Clemson knocked off its first ranked opponent under coach Brad Brownell, defeating No. 22 Florida State 62-44 on Saturday.
The Tigers (15-6, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) ran out to 22-6 lead and never let the Seminoles get closer than eight the rest of the way. Florida State (15-6, 5-2) had been off to its best conference start since 1992-93 and were tied with Duke for first place in the ACC coming in.
But the Seminoles had no answers for Clemson and nobody reached 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.
The Seminoles, who ended Duke's undefeated season 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 to Clemson.
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, the 6-foot-8 forward and Trevor's brother, hit two wide open 3-pointer and completed a three-point play early in the game. Cory Stanton followed with two foul shots that pushed Clemson to s 22-6 lead with 12:01 to go. Then the Tigers went cold, missing their last 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.
Singleton didn't play the first half's last 13 minutes after getting two fouls. They had 15 turnovers in the period, more than in each of their past three victories.
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.
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 23 turnovers, tied for their second highest total this season.
Next up for FSU is a home game on Tuesday night against a struggling Wake Forest team (7-13, 0-5 ACC).