Tigers' defense stems Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- Rattled, weary and utterly out of sync.


That was the effect of No. 19 Clemson's pressure defense on Alabama on Tuesday, leading to a runaway 87-61 win in a game that was close into the second half before deteriorating into a mismatch.

Trevor Booker and James Mays scored 18 points each inside and Terrence Oglesby added 17 for the Tigers (12-1), who resumed their domination of the Southeastern Conference.

The result was the worst loss at Coleman Coliseum for the Crimson Tide (10-4) since a 93-60 defeat to Louisiana State University in 2000 and the most lopsided home nonconference defeat since losing by 28 to Ohio State in 1970.

Booker was more surprised by the easy manner of the win than the final margin.

"I didn't think they were going to quit toward the end," he said. "I think they gave up toward the 7-minute mark."

Crimson Tide coach Mark Gottfried hardly disagreed with that assessment, thanks to what he referred to as a "second-half disaster."

"I'm completely, 100 percent embarrassed at how my team competed in the second half," said Gottfried, whose team entered on a six-game winning streak. "That hasn't been the case for 1 minute of one game this year. I think we got frustrated. Their pressure hurt us. They made a nice run, they made some tough shots, we started getting hurried on offense. We took some bad shots."

The Tigers have won seven of their past eight games against SEC teams, the only loss coming to No. 18 Mississippi on Dec. 22.

They took control of this one midway through the second half, setting up uncontested shots and denying any such chances for the Tide.

"I thought we wore them down," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said.

"Our pressure was a big part of the reason we blew the game open. I don't think it happened right there in the second half. I think it was a cumulative effect."


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