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.