CLEMSON, S.C. — Trevor Booker had 19 points to help No. 12 Clemson remain unbeaten with a 66-59 victory over Alabama on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (15-0) kept pace with their 17-0 start two years ago when they were the nation’s last unbeaten. It took a stellar defensive effort down the stretch to hold off the Crimson Tide (10-4).
Alabama led 42-41 after Yamene Coleman’s basket with 14:16 to go. Then Clemson set off on 14-0 run to take control. Rivers had two jumpers in the stretch while Terrence Ogleby made a runner and a 3-pointer.
After Senario Hillman hit a free throw to break Alabama’s drought, freshman Andre Young made a three to give Clemson its largest lead, 58-43.
The Crimson Tide managed only one basket between Coleman’s shot and JaMychal Green’s bucket with 1:45 left, missing 10 straight shots.
Rivers got it started with a basket and Andre Young followed with a 3-pointer. Rivers struck again to make it 48-42. Terrence Oglesby scored the next 5 points while Demontez Stitt ended the surge with a driving bucket.
Senario Hillman ended Alabama’s drought with a foul shot. But Young answered with another 3 to push Clemson to its biggest lead, 58-43.
The Tide cut things to 64-59 in the final 10 seconds, but it was too late to save their five-game win streak.
Rivers added nine rebounds, four steals and three assists. Oglesby also had 12 points.
Hillman and Alonzo Gee had 12 points each to lead Alabama, which had just come off an 88-77 victory over Georgia Tech. Early on, the Tide looked ready to knock off a second straight Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
Ronald Steele hit a pair of 3-pointers to put the Crimson Tide out front, 12-5.
Alabama was still up 20-17 after Steele’s jumper with 9:06 left in the half. That’s when Clemson’s defense kicked in and fueled an 11-3 run.
Booker had a basket and finished a three-point play after his fade-away jumper. Rivers finished the surge with a long 3-pointer with a second left on the shot clock.
Alabama went 1-of-7 with two turnovers during the stretch.