Clemson beats OSU to spoil Stockman#039;s return

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

The Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. - Tony Stockman's big performance in his return to Clemson wasn't enough to give Ohio State a victory.

The former Clemson standout scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half, but the Tigers rallied with an 8-0 run with less than four minutes to go and beat the Buckeyes 80-73 on Wednesday night.

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''I thought we were more aggressive tonight and sounder defensively,'' Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. ''We gave up 3s instead of easy layups, which can be demoralizing. We continued to apply pressure without giving up easy baskets.''

Sharrod Ford scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots for Clemson. Olu Babalola returned from a two-game suspension with 17 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers (3-1).

''Olu gives us athleticism, emotion, and experience. When he brings all of that, we're a much better team. He showed tonight that he gets it,'' Purnell said.

Cliff Hammonds and Shawan Robinson added 14 points apiece. Robinson also had a game-high eight assists.

Stockman, who transferred to the Buckeyes after the 2001-02 season, was booed about every time he touched the ball. He finished 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

''We were leaving him in the first half when he penetrated. All we did in the second half was scream 'Don't leave him,''' Purnell said.

Ivan Harris had 15 points, all on 3-pointers, and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham added 14 for the Buckeyes. Ohio State (5-2) made 15 of 25 3s and has hit 32 shots from behind the arc in the last two games.

The Tigers took a different tact, pounding the ball inside to Ford. Clemson outrebounded Ohio State 37-27 and outscored the Buckeyes by 15 points at the free throw line.

Trailing 65-60 with less than five minutes remaining, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to take a 68-65 lead with 3:52 left.

Robinson hit two free throws with 36.7 seconds remaining and Clemson went ahead 74-67. The Tigers made 8 of 10 from the line in the final minute.

Clemson closed the first half with a 10-1 run to cut Ohio State's lead to 36-35.

''I don't know what the answer is right now. We're not doing the little things like block outs. We're turning the ball over in transition. But we have to continue to build,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.

The Buckeyes don't play again until Dec. 11, when they take on Portland State in Columbus.

''I think 10 days off will help us. I hope we can continue to fine tune this thing,'' Matta said.