Dec. 4, 2011
CLEMSON, S.C. - Malik Cooke hit two free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining to seal a 58-55 South Carolina victory over Clemson on Sunday at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Gamecocks improve to 3-5 on the year, while Clemson falls to 4-3. The victory was South Carolina's first at Clemson since the 2003 campaign, while it was Carolina's second straight victory over the Tigers.
Sophomore forward Damontre Harris contributed 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high five blocks to pace the Gamecocks, and Cooke sealed the win with two free throws in the final seven seconds en route to six points, eight rebounds and four steals in the game. In just his second game back with the basketball team, sophomore guard Bruce Ellington contributed nine points, including two key free throws with 13 seconds remaining.
Both teams traded baskets to start the contest before Clemson extended its lead to 22-16 with 8:31 remaining in the opening half. Sophomore guard Eric Smith responded for Carolina with a driving layup, but Clemson's Andre Young connected on a 3 for a 25-18 Tiger advantage with 5:44 on the clock.
Both team's had their offensive chances the remainder of the half. Young hit a layup, and a 3 by Tanner Smith pushed the Tiger lead to 35-25 with just seconds remaining before halftime, but Ellington stepped to the 3-point line and hit a jumper with 1.9 seconds on the clock to pull the Gamecocks within seven at the break, 35-28.
Both teams started slow on the offensive end to open the second half. Junior forward Lakeem Jackson hit a bank shot with 18:42 on the clock and Cooke connected on a jumper 30 seconds later, as the Tiger lead was just three points at the 16-minute mark.
A putback by Harris with 4:36 on the clock knotted the score at 47-47, before a layup by freshman forward Anthony Gill with just over three minutes remaining gave the Gamecocks a 49-47 advantage.
Clemson responded to tie the score at 49 before Gill gave the Gamecocks a 52-49 advantage on a 3 from the wing with 1:19 on the clock.
Clemson's Devin Booker made two free throws to pull within one at 52-51 with 58.1 on the clock, before Smith hit a crucial shot for the Gamecocks, connecting on a jumper assisted by Ellington with 25.9 seconds remaining, pushing the Carolina advantage to 54-51.
Ellington and Cooke both connected on free throw opportunities down the stretch, and Clemson's Smith was unable to tie the score on three free throw attempts, as the Gamecock earned the 58-55 victory.
South Carolina will take a 10-day break from game action due to final exams. The Gamecocks will next host Presbyterian on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
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