CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – K.C. Rivers scored 24 points and had eight rebounds to lead No. 18 Clemson to an 85-74 win over South Carolina on Saturday.

Rivers stopped a couple of Gamecocks runs in the second half with key shots, helping the Tigers win their seventh consecutive game to start a season for the third straight time. They’ve also beaten their bitter in-state rival four times in a row.

Clemson never trailed, and looked ready to blow this one out when its lead reached 19 early in the second half. But the Gamecocks (4-4) kept battling back, trailing 75-67 after Devan Downey’s driving bucket with 2:46 to go.

On the next possession, Demontez Stitt came out of a scrum with the ball and an easy layup for the Tigers, and after forcing Downey into a bad shot, Rivers found an open lane to the basket and dunked to put Clemson ahead 79-67 and begin the chants of “Just like football!” – a reminder of the Gamecocks’ 23-21 loss in the biggest rivalry game in this state.

Poor shooting and bad defense at times did South Carolina in. The Gamecocks made just 1-of-8 3-pointers in the first half and trailed by 17.

Brandis Raley-Ross hit three 3-pointers in the first 4:10 of the second half to help South Carolina from falling farther behind. But Clemson would score on its first seven possessions of the half, all on dunks or lay-ups, to increase its lead by two.

AP-ES-12-01-07 1828EST

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