Rivers' Career Night Leads Clemson Over Syracuse, 74-70, In NIT Quarterfinals

K.C. Rivers pours in a career-high 29 points to lead the Tigers to the final four of the NIT Tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden.

March 21, 2007

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - K.C. Rivers had a career-high 29 points and Clemson advanced to the NIT semifinals with a 74-70 win over Syracuse on Wednesday night.

It was the Tigers (24-10) ninth straight NIT victory at home. But this one did not come easily.

Syracuse (24-11) cut Clemson's 17-point lead to 69-68 on Demetris Nichols tip-in with 19.8 seconds left. However, Rivers, the team's best free-throw shooter, hit a pair of foul shots to extend the lead.

Paul Harris' open 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left bounced off the rim and into the arms of Tiger guard Vern Hamilton.

Hamilton followed with two foul shots to clinch the victory - and Clemson's first trip to Madison Square Garden since 1999.

Then, the Tigers were second to champ Cal. This time, they can keep a curious streak alive for the Palmetto State as they try and become the third straight South Carolina team - the Gamecocks won the past two NITs - to hold the trophy.

Clemson will take on either DePaul or Air Force in Tuesday's semifinal.

Tigers fans stormed the court when the game ended. The Littlejohn Coliseum began flashing photos of Manhattan and the "world's most famous arena," while Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" played in the background.

Eric Devendorf had 23 points to lead Syracuse (24-11) while Nichols added 20.



K.C. Rivers made 5-of-10 shots from behind the three-point line Wednesday night. (File Photo)