Clemson University

Booker leads Clemson to 82-53 win over Furman

CLEMSON - Trevor Booker had a serious talk with Clemson teammate and younger brother, Devin.

"It was time," the Tigers' senior star said before the game, "for the Booker brothers to take over."

Did they ever in an 82-53 victory against Furman on Sunday.

Trevor had season highs with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Devin, a freshman, chipped in a career-best 11 points. The two made about every shot they took, going a combined 17 of 22 from the field for the Tigers (8-2).

"We tried to put on a show," Trevor Booker said with a smile.

With the Bookers playing strong underneath, Furman (5-3) had little chance of breaking a series losing streak that grew to 27 consecutive defeats.

The Tigers turned up the defensive pressure after the break, holding Furman to a season low in points and extending the Southern Conference school's run of futility. The Paladins last beat Clemson on Jan. 25, 1978, when they were in the midst of six NCAA tournament appearances between 1971-1980.

Furman's top two scorers, Jordan Miller and Amu Saaka, came in averaging a combined 33 points a game. But Miller was 4 of 14 for 11 points and Saaka finished 3 of 16 for eight points.

Colin Reddick had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Paladins.

The Paladins defended hard on the outside - the Tigers went 0-for-11 on 3-pointers - but had no solution for the Bookers.

Trevor, the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in field goal percentage last year, had three of Clemson's first five buckets and hit eight of his first nine shots.

When the elder Booker went to rest, Devin played like a more polished version of his older brother.

Devin said it was some harsh words from the Booker's mother, Tracey, that focused his on-court efforts.

"She just told me that the time I do get in, she knows what I can do, so just show it," Devin said.

Tracey, a 6-footer, won a state championship at old Union High School long before her sons ever picked up a basketball.

"She was a dominator in high school, just like Trevor is right now," Devin said.

Trevor Booker left the game for good after breaking up a midcourt pass and taking a feed from Andre Young for a crowd-pleasing jam with 5:44 left.

Clemson had been ranked from the preseason poll until last week, falling out after squandering a 23-point second-half lead at home against Illinois on Dec. 2.

The Tigers, though, continued the momentum gained from the South Carolina win.

Trevor Booker's three quick baskets built a 10-6 lead. Three minutes later, Booker stole the ball from Reddick for another easy basket.

Booker followed a miss by Devin with a flying left-handed jam.

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said when he signed Devin that he could be further along at this stage than Trevor was as a freshman. Slowly, the younger Booker is making the impact Purnell thought he would.

"I would like to see him play more physical on the defensive end," Purnell said.

Purnell has no such complaints about Trevor, who's been bottled up underneath by defenses sending two and three players to keep him in check. When Furman gave him some space, Trevor took advantage.

"Trevor's one of the biggest parts of our team," Clemson point guard Demontez Stitt said. "When he's fired up and playing well, then everybody else has no choice but to lift our play."

Trevor wore an ice pack on his left hand, saying he had strained some ligaments. But he did not consider it serious and expected to play Wednesday night at East Carolina.

Furman is Clemson's oldest rival - the Tigers' first basketball game was a 46-12 victory against the Paladins on Feb. 9, 1912 - and had come in off one of its best starts in 20 years.

The Paladins, though, had little to challenge Clemson, which forced 27 turnovers.

Furman missed nine of its final 10 shots of the half and trailed 43-26 at the break.

The Paladins shot 29 percent for the game (18 of 62).

"Their pressure got to us at times," Furman coach Jeff Jackson said. "That led to some easy baskets."

Not everything went Clemson's way. The Tigers were 12 of 25 from the foul line.

With the Booker brothers inside, though, it didn't cost the Tigers this time.