Burry The Competition

Having shaken off the rust from a two-week layoff its last time out, Clemson can now focus on winning its second San Juan Shootout title.

The 15th-ranked Tigers look for a more convincing victory as they continue tournament play against struggling DePaul on Friday in Puerto Rico.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Clemson -8 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 71% of bets for this game have been placed on Clemson -8 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Clemson (9-0) needed some time to put away host and Division II school Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in its 90-73 victory to open the five-team tournament, which the Tigers won in 2005 when it featured an eight-team field. It was Clemson's first game since an 82-67 win at East Carolina on Dec. 5.

Despite jumping out to a 14-3 start, Clemson allowed Mayaguez to hang around much of the first half, and led 25-23 with less than 7 minutes to play before pulling away for an 11-point lead at intermission.

"It was kind of natural that we would have trouble finding our sea legs,'' said Clemson coach Oliver Parnell, whose teams looks to open 10-0 for the third straight season.

The Tigers all but secured the victory with a 13-0 second-half run, keyed by eight points from leading scorer K.C. Rivers, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

"We decided to establish ourselves in the second half and try to put the game away,'' said Rivers, who averages 16.4 points with 7.8 rebounds and bounced back from a season-low, 10-point effort versus East Carolina. "We had a sense that if we didn't come out with a hard edge, they were going to come out pretty hard.''

While the Tigers shot 46.5 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bulldogs 50-30, they went 6-for-21 from 3-point range and committed 19 turnovers.

Clemson will try for a more complete effort when its meets DePaul for the first time. The Tigers, who will play three games in three days before the tournament concludes, finish up against Mississippi on Saturday.

The Blue Demons (2-6) opened the tournament with a 69-63 loss to Mississippi on Thursday, their fourth straight defeat.

DePaul led by four at halftime, but was outscored 42-32 in the second half and finished shooting season lows of 31.6 percent from the field and 18.2 percent (4-for-22) from 3-point range.

Draelon Burns had 17 points and Karron Clarke added 11 and 11 rebounds for the Blue Demons, who haven't lost five in a row in a season since losing six straight from Jan. 12-31, 2006.

Burns is averaging 20.6 points in his last three contests and 18.4 on the season.

DePaul, which is making its second appearance in the San Juan Shootout after finishing third in 1999, will face its third ranked opponent this month. The Blue Demons lost 84-66 at No. 3 Kansas on Dec. 8 and 91-85 in overtime to then-No. 20 Vanderbilt at home on Dec. 12.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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