At halftime, the Virginia Tech Hokies were on pace to score 106 points against a team that plays them tough every game and who had beaten them the last two times they visited Blacksburg.
Tech used a 13-4 run to grab the halftime lead behind the efforts of Malcolm Delaney (No. 23), who was in the process of scoring a career-best 37 points. Hokie Nation was feeling good when Delaney swished a 60-footer from beyond half court for a 53-44 lead at the midway buzzer.
Something had to give.
It did—the Hokies offense faltered. Virginia Tech scored a Big East-like 29 points in the second half as A.D. Vassallo disappeared at times, ending the game with just 10 points (eight below his average).
To make matters worse for the slumping Hokies, Clemson took over making threes (6-10 for 60 percent in the second half) and getting rebounds.
Credit Clemson’s second half defensive pressure as well. The Hokies shot 50 percent from the field for the game, but managed to only make 10 of 26 second half shots (38 percent).
The Tigers' K.C. Rivers (No. 1) hit seven three-pointers and scored 29 points as Clemson (18-2, 4-2 ACC) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half. Clemson used an 18-0 run to take the lead with 10 minutes left before outscoring the Hokies 8-2 over the final 2:08.
It was the Tigers' second straight win after losses to Wake Forest and at UNC and was all the more impressive because it came in front of a packed Cassel Coliseum crowd primed to see their team climb into the Top 25 with a win last night.
Trevor Booker added 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Tigers. Jeff Allen added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hokies, who were outrebounded by the Tigers 39-53. Clemson had 17 offensive rebounds.
(AP Photos/Don Petersen)