Basketball Ranked #25 in ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll

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CLEMSON -- After a 10-0 start to the season, the Clemson men's basketball team has achieved its first national ranking in nearly seven years. The Tigers are #25 in this week's ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. The last time Clemson ranked in the top 25 was on January 11, 1999, when the Tigers were 25th in both the Associated Press and coaches' polls. Clemson is fourth in the Sagarin computer ratings and 18th in the RPI as well this season.

"Being ranked among the top 25 teams in the country is certainly a sign of progress," said Oliver Purnell, fourth-year head coach at Clemson. "It is important to use this as motivation to work even harder to get better. We do not need to relax and view it as a major accomplishment at this time of year."

The Tigers' 10-0 start includes a 5-0 mark at home, 3-0 record on the road, and 2-0 ledger at neutral sites. Clemson began the season with three wins in three days to claim the Cox Communications Classic at Norfolk, VA. The championship win was a 74-70 victory over host Old Dominion, a top 100 team according to both the Sagarin ratings and RPI.

Clemson defeated SEC foe Mississippi State on November 21 to improve to 6-0. The Bulldogs are 5-2 on the season and ranked 39th in the Sagarin computer ratings. The Tigers also have an SEC road win versus South Carolina, 74-53, on December 2. Clemson's 21-point win over the Gamecocks came just three days after the Tigers defeated Minnesota 90-68 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It marked the first time since the 1949-50 season that any Clemson men's basketball squad posted consecutive road wins by at least 20 points.

The Tigers are on a break this week for final exams, but return to the court Tuesday, December 19 to take on Georgia Southern. The game is scheduled for 7:30 PM at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Clemson Athletics to Hold Second Annual "Shop With a Coach" Thursday

Tiger coaches will shop with local children for Christmas gifts at the Central Wal-Mart.

CLEMSON -- The Clemson athletic department is holding its second annual "Shop With a Coach" event Thursday, December 14 at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Central, SC. In conjunction with Clemson Community Care, local underprivileged children will be joining coaches from Clemson's varsity sports to shop for Christmas gifts. The event will get underway Thursday night at 6:30 PM.

"This event is one of the highlights of the year for me and all our coaches who have had the opportunity to participate," said men's basketball Head Coach Oliver Purnell, who is in charge of the event for the second straight year. "It gives us the opportunity to get in the Christmas spirit with kids and their families in our community. We have to extend major thanks to Wal-Mart for making this all possible and for their generosity."

Champion Coach has donated a bus and driver to transport the coaches and children Thursday from Clemson to Wal-Mart. The children will receive gift cards and will be given food by Wal-Mart. In addition, a wrapping station will be set up for all gifts purchased by the children. The children will also have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa Claus.

Each of the children will also receive three complimentary single-game tickets to a men's basketball game in the month of December.

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