Clemson’s rally falls short against Boilermakers

CLEMSON, S.C. — D.J. Byrd 20 points and six 3-pointers in the

first half as Purdue built a big lead and held on to defeat Clemson

73-61 in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Wednesday night.

The

Boilermakers (3-3) won in the conference challenge for a fourth straight

year and did on the strength of their early outside shooting. Byrd was 6

of 9 from beyond the arc while Purdue had seven threes overall to lead

42-22 at the break.

Clemson (4-2) cut the 23-point lead to 68-59

on Adonis Filer’s three with 1:31 remaining but got no closer. The

Tigers played without suspended leading scorer Milton Jennings, who was

arrested on a drug possession charge earlier Wednesday.

Byrd finished with 22 points and Terone Johnson 13 for Purdue.

Devin

Booker had 18 points to lead the Tigers. Bernard Sullivan started in

place of the 6-foot-9 Jennings and missed both shots he attempted.

Jennings

was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana or 10

grams or less of hash. Police say they went to Jennings on-campus

apartment after a disabled smoke alarm sent authorities a signal. It was

the third time in past 11 months Jennings has missed time due to

suspensions for various violations.

K.J. McDaniels was Clemson’s only other player in double figures with 15 points.

A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson each had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Clemson

hoped to build on winning the last two games at last week’s Old Spice

Classic in Orlando, Fla. But things went wrong for the Tigers even

before the game with Jennings transgression. The team’s only other

upperclassman, the 6-foot-8 Booker, missed afternoon shoot-around

because of a family illness, although he returned in time to start

against the Boilermakers.

Booker quickly got things going with a 3-pointer and a jumper for Clemson.

Then

Byrd began his outside shooting show. He hit four straight 3-pointers

during a 21-4 run as Purdue moved in front for good, 23-9. When Clemson

scratched back within 25-17, the Boilermakers took off again. Terone

Johnson converted a three-point play and Ronnie Johnson a 3-pointer.

Moments later, Byrd screamed in celebration after canning his sixth

three of the half put Purdue up 36-18.

Jennings’ absence was felt

underneath as the Boilermakers had a 22-6 rebounding edge the first 20

minutes. Clemson had held its five opponents to less than 60 points, its

longest streak in 15 years when Rick Barnes was coach.

Purdue

almost stopped that in the first half, going 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) to

lead 42-22 at the break. Byrd was 7 of 10 from the field overall. Byrd

took just two shots after the break and finished 2 points shy of his

career best.

Anthony Johnson opened the second half with a 3-pointer for Purdue for its largest lead 45-22.

The

Tigers tried to rally, but the hole was far too deep. Purdue’s lead

shrunk to 59-47 after Damarcus Harrison’s jumper with 7:32 to go. But

Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson followed with baskets to restore the

margin.