Missouri stifles Booker, beats Clemson

MISSOURI 86, CLEMSON 78
Missouri's Keith Ramsey (right) shoots over Clemson's Trevor Booker. Missouri won by eight, and Booker's career ended without a win in the NCAA Tournament.

 

BUFFALO, N.Y. --- Trevor Booker's stellar career at Clemson ended on a sour note. You can thank "The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" for that.

Kim English and Keith Ramsey each scored 20 points, and Missouri's swarming defense lived up to its reputation during an 86-78 victory over Clemson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Missouri's defense, small, swift and smart, played at a high level. It forced 20 turnovers, nabbed 15 steals and stifled Booker for 35 minutes. Everybody that played for Clemson had at least one turnover.

"When you play at that pace -- we scored 86 points but only had nine turnovers. That's efficient basketball," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "We had 15 steals, forced 20 turnovers and they outrebounded us by 15. I thought we imposed our will on a very good Clemson team."

Ramsey, a junior-college transfer, picked the perfect moment for a memorable game. He finished with a career high in points, grabbed eight rebounds, had four assists with no turnovers, and made three steals in playing a team-high 34 minutes.

More importantly, he helped keep Booker at bay.

Booker finished with 11 points, eight coming in a late 3-minute span, and pulled down 11 rebounds. Booker, the only player in ACC history with at least 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 blocks and 100 steals, played his 134th consecutive game for Clemson to set a school record for total games started. He departs without a win in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 7 seed Clemson (21-11) goes home for the third consecutive year after a first-round loss to a lower-seeded team. Tigers coach Oliver Purnell is winless in six trips to the NCAA Tournament with three schools.

Missouri (23-10), the 10th seed in the East Regional will play Big East Tournament champion West Virginia in the second round Sunday.

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