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FSU falls 68-67 at Clemson

Chris Whitney scored 21 points, including five three-pointers, and freshman center Sharone Wright hit a free throw with 21 seconds showing to lead Clemson to a 68-67 upset victory over No. 16 Florida State Tuesday night.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Seminoles (10-5 ACC, 18-7 overall). It was their third loss in the past 14 games.

Clemson had lost three straight coming into the contest. The Tigers lost to the Seminoles, 102-90, just two weeks ago in Tallahassee.

The game was tied 34-34 at the half, but Whitney hit a pair of three-pointers early in the second half to give the Tigers a 40-36 lead with 17:11 left to play.

The Seminoles came back to tie it at 43-43 with 13:38 left on a basket by Sam Cassell, who led Florida State with 21 points. But Clemson followed with a 9-2 run, built around a pair of inside baskets by freshman forward Devin Gray and another three-pointer by Whitney, to gain a 52-45 lead at the 10:50 mark.

Florida State never regained the lead.

Whitney ended his scoring with a short jumper to make it 67-63 with 1:05 remaining. After Cassell added two with 48 seconds showing, Wright nailed the front end of a two-shot bonus.

The Seminoles missed their final chance when Doug Edwards, who finished with 18 points, missed a three-point try with three seconds left and Bob Sura tapped it in for two.

Freshman forward Devin finished with 14 points and Wright added 13 points and 11 rebounds in the winning effort.

Clemson hit 41.7 percent from the field, while Florida State made 43.9 percent.

Report: Vegas car dealer let Johnson drive Corvette

While leading Nevada-Las Vegas to an undefeated regular season last year, all-America forward Larry Johnson had the use of a $32,000 sports car that was the property of an automobile dealership with ties to the UNLV athletic program, court and state of Nevada records show.

Such an arrangement is an apparent violation of NCAA rules that prohibit coaches and other representatives of a school's athletic interests from providing student-athletes with benefits not available to the student body in general.

Johnson drove a 1989 Chevrolet Corvette belonging to Fletcher Jones Import Center of Las Vegas for at least two weeks last season, before the car was sold by the dealership to a high school coach in Dallas, the records show. The coach, Alex Gillum, has helped Johnson financially and is often referred to as his "uncle."

School records also show that Johnson twice left complimentary passes to UNLV basketball games last season for Bernie Schiappa, general manager of Fletcher Jones Import Center.

Gillum said he came to Las Vegas during the weekend of Feb. 16-17 last year after learning from Johnson that the 300ZX had been damaged in an accident. During that trip, Gillum said, he was persuaded by Johnson to buy the Corvette from Schiappa.

Asked how Johnson could have driven the car at least two weeks before its sale, Gillum said: "He could easily have had the thing before he called me and told (Schiappa), "Let me try this out. Maybe my uncle will buy it for me.' "

Johnson did not respond to a request for an interview.

Fletcher Jones Import Center, a Mercedes dealership, is one of six Las Vegas car dealerships owned by the Fletcher Jones family. The family's original Las Vegas dealership, Fletcher Jones Chevrolet, has donated both courtesy cars and money to the UNLV athletic department in exchange for basketball season tickets, according to school records.

He obtained the Corvette less than two months after UNLV received a letter of official inquiry from the NCAA charging the basketball program with rules violations in 29 areas.

Those allegations remain unresolved due to a Nevada statute that requires NCAA enforcement proceedings involving Nevada schools to conform to standards of legal due process. The NCAA has initiated legal action challenging the constitutionality of the law.

UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said he has no direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Johnson's use of the Corvette, but added that all vehicles that were driven by Johnson at UNLV were scrutinized by the NCAA and the university.

UNLV legal counsel Brad Booke said, however, that the school has not examined how Johnson obtained the Corvette. Booke indicated that UNLV would look into the matter as a result of the findings by the Los Angeles Times.

UNLV officials recently concluded an inquiry into how J.R. Rider, the leading scorer for the Rebels this season, obtained a 1991 Ford Explorer from Fletcher Jones Import Center. Booke said the university found no impropriety in Rider's use of the Explorer.