Clemson desperately needed a win and Milton Jennings made sure they got it. The senior who has spent a majority of his career plagued with inconsistent play on the court and some maturity issues of it, stepped up with 21 points and 11 rebounds to help carry the Tigers to a 59-44 win over Virginia Saturday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.
“Barring way the season is going so far we need guys to step up and obviously me and Book have to be the first two to step up,” Jennings said. “ I finally wanted to match his intensity.”
Booker did his part to. The senior from Union County scored 15 points and came up one rebound short of his third straight double-double. Jennings and Booker took all but 10 of the Tigers 33 shots, which was part of Brad Brownell’s game plan.
“We got the ball to our two seniors and they played well and made good shots,” Brownell said. “I was really happy for Milt.
I told (Jennings), ‘hey man, you got to keep shooting. Today we need you.’ …He responded and it really helped our team a lot.”
This was a game Clemson had to have. The Tigers came in 0-2 in ACC play and the last thing Brownell needed was for his players confidence to take another hit at home.
“We need that. We needed it. You can keep playing, but it’s hard, I mean it’s hard when you aren’t winning. I mean momentum builds both ways and this was a significant win because we have been working at it pretty hard and competing.”
Clemson moves to 9-6 and 1-2 in the ACC. The Tigers are at home again Tuesday night to face Wake Forest.
Other notes from Saturday’s game at Littlejohn:
- Clemson freshman guard Jordan Roper (Irmo H.S.) did not play Saturday because of an ankle injury he suffered in practice. Roper was playing well of late, scoring in double digits in four of his past six games. He entered the weekend with 6.8 point per game average.
- With 11:35 left in the first half Clemson scored its 11th point of the half topping their 10 point total in the first half against Duke earlier in the week. The Tigers finished the first half with 24 points.
- Clemson lead 24-20 at the half, but Virignia scored the first four of the second half to tie the score. From there the Tigers went on a 9-0 run and never looked back.
- Dabo Swinney and many of this assistant coaches and players were at the game along with a slew of recruits. During a timeout in the first half they showed highlights of the final drive against LSU much to the crowds delight.
- Former Clemson All-American defensive back Brian Dawkins was also in the house for the game. The future NFL Hall of Famer was recognized during a break in the action during the second half.
- Virginia has been something of an enigma this season. The Cavaliers found a way to beat North Carolina, Wisconsin and Tennessee but couldn’t beat George Mason, Old Dominion, Delaware or Wake Forest.