Jennings scores 21, Clemson beats Virginia 59-44
CLEMSON 59, VIRGINIA 44
By PETE IACOBELLI
CLEMSON — Milton Jennings scored a season-high 21 points on five 3-pointers and added 11 rebounds to give Clemson its first Atlantic Coast Conference victory of the season, 59-44 over Virginia on Saturday.
Jennings finished a point off his career best as the Tigers (9-6, 1-2 ACC) avoided their first 0-3 ACC start in 13 years. Devin Booker added 15 points and nine rebounds for Clemson, which won its fourth straight at home over the Cavaliers (11-5, 1-2).
It was Virginia’s lowest point total since a 63-44 loss to Boston College on Feb. 26, 2011. Joe Harris had 14 points and was Virginia’s only player in double figures.
Jennings took control of things for Clemson early in the second half with consecutive threes for a 31-24 lead. When the Cavaliers cut things to 33-29 on Evan Nolte’s 3-pointer, Jennings and Damarcus Harrison led a 7-2 run for the Tigers.
Virginia’s last good chance ended when Booker had back-to-back blocks on Mike Tobey and Justin Anderson seconds apart and Jennings followed with his fourth 3-pointer for a 44-35 lead with 7:12 remaining.
The Tigers came into the game dead last in ACC shooting and points per game, but found their stroke in the second half. Clemson made 10 of 14 shots after the halftime, led by Jennings, who made 5 of 6 shots – four of those from behind the arc.
The bulk of Booker’s points came from the foul line, where he made 9 of 12. Hall was 4 of 4 for eight points for the Tigers.
Virginia struggled with its shooting, going 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from 3-point range.
The game had a football theme to it, as Clemson hosted several high school players it hopes to sign next month. Coach Dabo Swinney and quarterback Tajh Boyd were honored during the first half, while longtime NFL star defensive back – and ex-Tiger star – Brian Dawkins was brought out to fans’ cheers in the second half.