It was supposed to be a showdown between two standout sophomore guards. Instead, it was another sophomore, Maryland's Lonny Baxter, who stood out.
The strategy was simple, Baxter said.
Baxter scored 16 points before halftime, single-handedly staving off a Clemson rally midway through the first half.
Baxter's performance overshadowed the matchup between the Atlantic Coast Conference's two leading scorers, sophomore guards Will Solomon and Juan Dixon. Solomon finished with 12 points, and Dixon scored 11. Both came in averaging 21.6 points in league play.
The Tigers (9-17, 3-10) used an 8-0 run to pull within 22-16 with 10:01 left. But Maryland (20-7, 9-4) answered with a 10-0 run of its own, the first five points coming from Baxter, to go up 32-16. The Terrapins led 37-25 at halftime.
"Baxter took the game over inside unlike any other player we have faced this season," said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt.
The Tigers slowed by starting the second half in a zone, but he came on again late in the game. Baxter's fast break dunk with 3:43 left gave Maryland its biggest lead at 74-52.
The second half was a veritable foulfest, with Maryland committing 12 fouls in the second half and Clemson committing 11. Both teams combined for seven fouls in one 1:26 stretch.
Maryland reached the bonus with 13:31 left, and Clemson was in the bonus 17 seconds later.
"I think we fouled," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "Clemson is a good team. Adam Allenspach, to his credit, he's a guy who has improved every yearHe's a problem for us inside."
Steven Blake scored 14 points for Maryland, hitting four of five 3-pointers, and added a game-high six assists.
"Blake did a very good job as far as when to shoot and when to pass," Shyatt said. "He didn't force any shots. Our guys knew when to shoot. When we are open, we are supposed to shoot."
Clemson was paced by Allenspach's 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The win extended Maryland's ACC win streak to seven games and was the Terrapins' fifth straight over the Tigers.
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