COLUMBIA -- Terrence Oglesby had six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points and No. 20 Clemson improved to 13-0 for the second time in three seasons with a 98-87 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
The Tigers (13-0) were the country's last unbeaten team two years ago, winning their first 17 games. They were able to take a winning streak into the new year by surviving the Gamecocks' second-half rally.
South Carolina (9-2) cut Clemson's 18-point lead to seven in the final minute. However, K.C. Rivers got free underneath for a basket, and Oglesby hit a free throw after Gamecocks first-year coach Darrin Horn was called for a technical.
Former Chester star Devan Downey had a career-high 37 points for the Gamecocks, who have lost five straight to their instate rival.
Rivers finished with 20 points and Trevor Booker had 18 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season.
Zam Fredrick scored 19 points for South Carolina, while Mike Holmes had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Oglesby found his range when Clemson needed it most. South Carolina got within 71-65 with 10 minutes left when Oglesby hit a 3 and followed with a layup. Six minutes later, the Gamecocks were down 84-76 when Oglesby made another 3.
Clemson had taken control of the series since coach Oliver Purnell arrived six seasons ago. Along with the current winning streak, the Tigers have locked down most of the state's top recruits who stay within the Palmetto borders.
The Gamecocks' 9-1 start was their best start since 2003-04.
Downey had two straight baskets as South Carolina opened an 8-0 lead. When Dominique Archie hit a 3-pointer 2 minutes later, the Gamecocks were up 14-3 and the large crowd at the Colonial Life Arena was howling.
Then Clemson's depth, size and experience gradually wore down the Gamecocks. Rivers had two baskets to make it 21-17. Oglesby hit a 3-pointer and a reverse to give the Tigers a 22-21 lead. When Oglesby hit his third 3, Clemson was up 37-32.
Rivers, Clemson's leading scorer coming in, had a jumper and two consecutive 3-pointers, both off turnovers as South Carolina tried to inbound the ball, to make it 52-38.
Rivers, Booker and Oglesby all reached double digits by halftime.
There's no telling how things would have gone if the Gamecocks didn't have Downey. The junior was 8-of-9 from the field and 21 points in the first half.
Downey finished 14-of-21 from the field and had five steals. He previous career high was 30 against Penn State in November 2007.