Clemson vs Louisville Notes


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NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT

#4 Clemson at #1 Louisville

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tipoff: 7:00 PM

Tickets: $25 ( 502) 361-3100

SITE: Freedom Hall (18,865)

CITY: Louisville, KY

TV: Locally in Louisville

Radio: Clemson Tiger Sports Properties

(Pete Yanity, Tim Bourret)



The Series

Overall: Louisivlle leads 2-0

at Clemson Louisville leads 1-0

at Louisville: Louisville leads 1-0

Previous Meetings:

1973-74 at Clemson, Louisville won 74-70

1974-75 at Louisville, Cards won 90-75


PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

CLEMSON (19-12 overall, 7-9 ACC)  Louisville (19-12, 6-10 Big East)

Shawan Robinson 6-2 180 Sr. G    5 Taquan Dean 6-3 185 Sr.
(12.3 PPG, 2.7 APG)                (16.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
Cliff Hammonds 6-3 197 So.  G    11 Brandon Jenkins 6-3 185 Jr.
(9.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG)                 (11.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG)
Akin Akingbala 6-9 240 Sr.  C    43 Terrance Farley 6-10 250 So.
(11.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG)                (2.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG)
K.C. Rivers 6-5 210 Fr.    F/G   21 Chris Current 6-4 185 Jr.
(7.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG)                 (0.6 PPG, 0.2 RPG)
Julius Powell 6-7 208 Fr.   F     3 Jaun Palacios 6-8 255 So.
(5.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG)                 (10.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG)


Quick Facts


 Clemson needs one win to reach the 20-victory mark
for the season. Clemson has had just seven 20-
win seasons in its history. The previous 20-win season
came in 1998-99 when Clemson was 20-15
after reaching the finals of the NIT.

 Clemson has a 1-0 record against Louisville head
coach Rick Pitino. The Tigers defeated Pitino’s
Kentucky team to open the 1996-97 season, 79-71
in overtime in the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis.
Kentucky was the defending NCAA Champion and
ranked third in the nation entering the game. It is
still the highest ranked non-conference team
Clemson has defeated in its history.


 Clemson is 0-2 all-time against Louisville. The Cardinals
won at Clemson in 1973-74 by a four-point
margin, then Louisville won the next season in Freedom
Hall, 90-75. Louisville advanced to the Final
Four that year.

 Clemson center Akin Akingbala had 16 points and
11 rebounds in Clemson’s win over Louisiana Tech
in the opening round NIT contest. He out-rebounded
NCAA Rebounding leader Paul Millsap of Louisiana
Tech by an 11-9 margin even though Millsap played
more minutes (32-27).

 Akingbala had just three double-doubles in his first
94 games at Clemson and now has had seven
double-doubles in his last 10 contests.

 Clemson starting forward KC Rivers was a teammate
of Louisville starting center Brian Johnson last
year at Oak Hill Academy. They were two of the
reasons Oak Hill was ranked #1 in the nation by
USA Today.

 Shawan Robinson has made .911 of his free throws
to lead the ACC this season (5th in the nation). J.J.
Redick is second at .877. Robinson is trying to become
the first Clemson player since 1966-67 to lead
the ACC in free throw shooting.

 Clemson has a 11-12 record in the NIT and Louisville
is 12-13. This is Clemson’s 13th appearance
in the event, more than any other ACC team. Oliver
Purnell has a 7-6 record in the NIT over his career.

 Clemson’s first ever postseason tournament victory
took place in the state of Kentucky. In the first round
of the 1979 NIT, Clemson upset Kentucky in Rupp
Arena by a 68-67 score in overtime.

 Clemson made its last 15 free throws in the victory
over Louisiana Tech and made 20-25 for the game.

 The Tigers held Louisiana Tech to 16 points in the
first half of the NIT opener, the fewest points allowed
in a half since Northwestern had just 15 in the second
half of a Tiger win on November 28, 2000.


 Cliff Hammonds had 21 assists and just four turnovers
over his last five games. He is fourth in the
ACC in assist/turnover ratio.

Clemson vs. Louisville Series


Louisville holds a 2-0 advantage in
the series with Clemson. The games were
played as part of a home-and-home series in
1973-74 and 1974-75. Louisville won the first
game at Clemson on December 18, 1973 by a
74-70 score, and Louisville won the next year in
Freedom Hall 90-75.


In the first game at Clemson, the
teams were tied at the half, 44-44. Denny
Crum’s Cardinals shot 16-24 from the field in
the first half, but the game was still tied.
Clemson led 70-68 with 3:39 left on a layup by
Wayne Croft, but Louisville scored the last six
points of the game. Croft led Clemson with 22
points on 11-13 field goal shooting, while Van
Gregg added 15 points. Then freshman Tree
Rollins had 11 points and eight rebounds.


Louisville had five players in double figures led
by Bill Butler with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Wesley Cox and Allen Murphy added 15 points
apiece. Junior Bridgeman had 10 points on 4-5
shooting.


Louisville had 24 free throw attempts,
while home standing Clemson had just four.
Clemson took 29 more field goal attempts and
won the rebound margin 36-26 and the turnover
margin 16-24. One of the officials for the game
was Chuck Hartman, now the head baseball
coach at Virginia Tech.That Louisville team
went on to finish 21-7 overall and made the
NCAA Tournament as the champion of the
Missouri Valley Conference.


The following year’s game was a
battle of teams that would end the season both
ranked in the top 20 of the final UPI poll. That
1974-75 season was Clemson’s firs top 20
team in history and the first Clemson team to
advance to postseason play (NIT). Louisville
would end the 1974-75 season with a 28-3
record and reached the Final Four before losing
in the national semifinals to UCLA, 75-74 in
overtime. That was John Wooden’s final
season and his final national championship
with the Bruins.


The Clemson vs. Louisville game
played on December 19, 1974 lost some of its
luster when Clemson star freshman guard Ship
Wise was suspended for the game for
disciplinary reasons. He went on to average 18
points a game that year and was the first ACC
player in history to make first-team allconference
as a freshman.


Still, Clemson had a 39-33 lead at
halftime over the Cardinals thanks to 10 points,
10 rebounds and six blocked shots by Rollins.
But, Louisville went on a 19-5 run to open the
second half and when Rollins picked up his
third and fourth fouls just 29 seconds apart with
over 11 minutes left, Clemson’s fortunes
suffered. Louisville held a double digit lead for
the last 7:50 of the game.


Rollins led Clemson with 14 points,
14 rebounds and seven blocks, while Croft
added 12 points. Louisville had five players in
double figures, led by Phillip Bond with 16 and
Allen Murphy with 15. Louisville outscored
Clemson 57-36 in the second half and hit 30-42
free throw attempts for the game compared to
15-23 for Clemson. One of the officials for the
game was Hank Nichols, who is now the
director of officiating for the NCAA.
Also in attendance for the game was
then Indiana coach Bob Knight, who was in the
area that night recruiting. He and then
Clemson head coach Tates Locke coached at
Army together in the 1960s.


Tigers 1-0 vs. Rick Pitino


While Clemson has not defeated
Louisville in two previous meetings, it has
defeated current Louisville mentor Rick Pitino.
Clemson downed Pitino’s 1996-97 Kentucky
team 79-71 in overtime in the season opener at
the RCA Dome in Indianapolis on November 15,
1996. It was the opening game of college
basketball that year and was televised
nationally on ESPN. Kentucky was the
defending NCAA champion.


Kentucky was ranked third in the
nation entering the game and it remains the
highest ranked non-conference team Clemson
has beaten in its history. The Wildcats went on
to the NCAA Championship game that year
before losing to Arizona in overtime. It is one of
just three victories for Clemson in history over a
team that played in the NCAA finals. Kentucky
finished the year with a 35-5 record and it was
Kentucky’s only non-conference loss that year
until the national championship game.


Harold Jamison led Clemson with 20
points on 8-10 shooting, while Kentucky native
and current Denver Nugget guard Greg
Buckner had 13 points. Point guard Terrell
McIntyre also had 13 points and seven
rebounds to go with three assists. He did not
have a turnover in 41 minutes against
Kentucky’s pressure defense. The game was
played in front of 32,250 fans, mostly from
Kentucky, the largest attendance in history to
witness a Clemson basketball game.


Purnell 1-3 vs. Louisville


While Clemson has not gained victory
in Freedom Hall, head coach Oliver Purnell has.
The Tiger mentor led Dayton to a 91-68 victory
over Louisville and Denny Crum in Freedom
Hall during the 2000-01 season, Crum’s last
season at Louisville.


Purnell is 1-3 all-time vs. Louisville
and 1-1 in Freedom Hall. He lost to a 22nd
ranked Louisville team, 80-67 during the 1996-
97 season at Freedom Hall. His Dayton teams
lost two other games at Dayton to Louisville, in
1994-95 and 1998-99.


Tiger Team Sets Team Steal Record


Clemson established the school
record for steals by a Tiger team in one year
when it had 10 in the win over Louisiana Tech.
Clemson now has 339 steals for the year, an
average of 10.94 per game. The previous
record was 332 steals by the 1989-90 Clemson
team that played 35 games and won the ACC
regular season championship.


Vernon Hamilton leads the way with
80 steals, already the Clemson single season
record, while Cliff Hammonds has 52 and K.C.
Rivers has 46. The 46 steals by Rivers rank
fourth best in Clemson history for a Tiger
freshman. Six different Clemson players have
at least 30 steals this year, a record in that area
as well.


Clemson 5-2 in Last Seven Games


Clemson has won five of its last
seven games entering the second round of the
NIT. The two losses have been to Wake Forest
in overtime and by three points to Miami (FL) in
the ACC tournament. The Tigers have wins
over Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia
Tech and Louisiana Tech in that time period.


Over the last seven games, Clemson
has averaged 80 points per game, shot 41.1
percent on three-point shots and 67.6 percent
from the foul line. Those figures are far ahead
of Clemson’s season averages of 74.5 points,
32.2 percent on three-point shooting and 62.3
percent on free throw shooting. Clemson has
also forced 39 more turnovers than it has
committed (142-103) and has 80 steals
compared to 59 for the opposition over the last
seven games.


Individually, Clemson has four players
averaging at least a dozen points per game
over the last seven contests. Shawan
Robinson leads the way with a 16.3 average
during that time, including a 43 percent three-
point shooting accuracy. Akin Akingbala is
averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per
game over the last seven games.


Cliff Hammonds is scoring 12.9 points
per game, has made 16-37 three-point shots
and 73.7 percent from the foul line. Even more
impressive is his 30/12 assist/turnover ratio.
Vernon Hamilton is scoring 12.5 points a game
during this time and has made 74.3 percent
from the foul line, including each of his last
nine.


Clemson Offensive Comparison
Category       First 24 Last 7
Record            14-10 5-2
Points/Game        72.9 80.0
Three-Point %      .296 .411
Free Throw %       .604 .676
Turnover Margin   +2.75 +5.57


Hammonds Playing with Efficiency


Clemson sophomore Cliff Hammonds
played perhaps his best all-around game of the
year in the Tigers victory over Louisiana Tech.
The native of Cairo, GA scored 14 points, pulled
down a career high eight rebounds and handed
out six assists in Clemson’s 16-point win. He
played 37 minutes and committed just one
turnover. It was the first time in his career that
he had at least 10 points, six rebounds and six
assists in the same game.


Over the last seven games,
Hammonds has averaged 12.9 points per
game, has shot 48 percent from the field and
43.2 percent from the foul line. Where he has
really been effective has been in terms of ball
handling. He leads Clemson in assists for the
year (103) and assist/turnover ratio. In fact,
Hammonds is fourth in the ACC in assist/
turnover ratio with a1.84/1 figure. That
includes a 21/4 ratio over the last five games.


For the season, Hammonds 1.84/1
assist/turnover ratio is the best by a Tiger since
Edward Scott had a 2.04/1 ratio in 2002-03.
Hammonds also led the Tigers in that area last
year as a freshman with a 1.375/1 figure.


Clemson Seeks 20th Victory


Clemson is one victory away from its
20th triumph of the season. Only seven teams
in Clemson history have recorded 20 wins in a
season. The last team to do it was the 1998-99
team that finished 20-15 and advanced to the
finals of the NIT. The Clemson record for wins
in a season is 25, set by the 1986-87 team that
had a 25-6 record. The 1989-90 team had an
official record of 24-8.


The Tigers enter the second round of
the NIT with a 19-12 record. Obviously, the
worst Clemson can finish is 19-13, which would
be a season in which Clemson finished six games over .500. Clemson
has not finished the season six games over .500 since the 1996-97
season when the Tigers were 23-10.


Clemson’s Winningest Seasons

Rk Year     W-L  Notes
1. 1986-87 25-6  Horace Grant ACC MVP, Tigers opened 24-2
2. 1989-90 24-8  ACC Regular Season Champs, Sweet 16 NCAA
3. 1979-80 23-9  Reached NCAA Regional Championship Game
   1996-97 23-10 Opened 16-1, NCAA Sweet 16
5. 1976-77 22-6  Tree Rollins Senior Year, no postseason, probation
6. 1980-81 20-11 Larry Nance Senior year, Lost NIT first round 
   1998-99 20-15 NIT Finalist
8. 2005-06 19-12 Tigers won first 11, won 5 of last 7
   1978-79 19-10 Beat Kentucky in Lexington in NIT
   1985-86 19-15 Reached Final 8 of NIT
   1988-89 19-11 Reached Second round if NCAA behind Davis and
                 Campbell


Clemson Downs Louisiana Tech in Opening Round


Akin Akingbala scored 16 points and added 11 rebounds in a
head-to-head battle with national rebound leader Paul Millsap, leading
Clemson to a 69-53 victory over Louisiana Tech in the first round of 2006
National Invitation Tournament. It was Clemson’s first postseason win
(post ACC Tournament) since the 1999 NIT.

Akingbala’s 16 points led the Tigers, but he was supported by
Vernon Hamilton and Cliff Hammonds, who added 14 apiece.
Hammonds had eight rebounds and six assists against just one turnover
in 37 minutes. Hamilton scored 11 of his 14 points inside the last five
minutes of the game. Freshman Julius Powell added 10 points in 21
minutes, including 2-4 on three-point shots.

Free throw shooting was a key for the Tigers as Clemson made
20-25 for the game, including 15-15 inside the last 4:39. Hamilton made
his last nine free throws inside that 4:39 time period, the longest streak of
consecutive made free throws of his career.

The Tiger defense held Louisiana Tech to 35.8 field goal
percentage, including just 2-10 from three-point range. Clemson also
won the rebounding 38-35, an accomplishment considering the Bulldogs
were 11th in the nation in rebound margin entering the game. Clemson
also won the turnover margin stat, forcing 19 and committing 15.

Clemson jumped out to a 12-4 lead by hitting 4-5 field goals to
open the contest. Akingbala scored Clemson’s first five points. A threepoint
shot by Powell with 15:14 left gave Clemson the 12-4 lead. But,
Louisiana Tech came back behind Millsap and cut the margin to 14-12 at
the 8:31 mark. But, just 19 seconds later, Millsap, who entered the
game with a 19.7 scoring average and an NCAA best 13.4 rebounds per
game, picked up his third foul.

Cliff Hammonds hit a three-point goal on Clemson’s next
possession and the Tigers went on a 16-4 run to close the half. The 16
points scored by Louisiana Tech were the fewest in a half against
Clemson since a November of 2000 victory over Northwestern when the
Wildcats scored 15 in the second half of a 57-44 Tiger win.

Clemson moved the lead to 18 points at 44-26 with 12:07 left
on an inside score by Akingbala. Louisiana Tech then cut the lead to
eight at 51-43 with 4:31 left on a dunk by Millsap. From there, Clemson
converted its free throws, hitting 15 in a row down the stretch. Louisiana
Tech never got the margin under double digits inside the last five minutes
and Clemson had a 16-point victory.


Tiger Defense Holds Louisiana Tech to 53 Points


Clemson stepped up its defense in the win over Louisiana
Tech. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to 53 points, including just 16 in the
first half. The first half point total was the best scoring defense in a half
by a Clemson team since November 29, 2000 when the Tigers held
Northwestern to 15 points in the second half of a Clemson victory. The
53 points tied for the fewest scored against Clemson in an NIT game.
Clemson held Louisiana Tech to 26.1 percent shooting in the
first half on 6-23 field goals, including 1-5 on three-point shots. It tied for
the best field goal percentage defense in a half by he Tigers all season.
South Carolina State also shot 6-23 in the first half of Clemson’s victory
back in November, 2005.


Victory Margin Fifth Best in Postseason


Clemson’s 16 –point victory over Louisiana Tech in the first
round of the NIT was the fifth greatest victory margin for the Tiger
program in a postseason tournament game (NCAA or NIT). The record is
a 20-point victory on two occasions, both during the 1999 NIT. Clemson
defeated Georgia and Butler, both at Clemson, in the first and third
rounds, respectively.


All five of Clemson’s top victory margins in postseason play
have come in the NIT. The biggest victory in the NCAA for the Clemson
program is a 13-point victory over St. Mary’s (CA) in the 1989 NCAA
Tournament.


Clemson Top Victory Margins in Postseason Play

Date      Opponent    Trn Site CU-Opp Mar
3-10-1999 Georgia     NIT  H   77-57 +20
3-18-1999 Butler      NIT  H   89-69 +20
3-13-1986 Mid Tenn    NIT  H   99-81 +18
3-21-1994 W Virginia  NIT  A   96-79 +17
3-15-2006 La Tech     NIT  H   69-53 +16
3-16-1989 St. Mary’s  NCAA N   83-70 +13
3-17-1986 Georgia     NIT  A   77-65 +12
3-18-1993 Auburn      NIT  H   84-72 +12
3-14-1997 Miami (OH)  NCAA N   68-56 +12


Akingbala Out-rebounds Nation’s Best


Clemson center Akin Akingbala continued his strong play over
the last half of the season in the first round victory over Louisiana Tech.
Akingbala had 16 points and a game best 11 rebounds. He outrebounded
Paul Millsap of Louisiana Tech, the nation’s leading
rebounder, 11-9. Akingbala accomplished the feat by playing five less
minutes than Millsap (27 to 32).


It was just the ninth time this year in 33 games that an
opposing player had recorded a higher rebound total than Millsap, who
will become the first player in college basketball history to lead the nation
in rebounding three consecutive years.


Akingbala recorded his seventh double-double in the last 10
games with his 16 and 11 against Louisiana Tech. He had just three
double-doubles in his first 94 games at Clemson so you can see the
improvement he has made at the end of the season. Over the last seven
games he is averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He is
also shooting 53.2 percent from the field over that time.


The native of Nigeria has improved his post moves over the
course of the year and has been a strong finisher. He has 59 dunks for
the year, just three short of Harold Jamison’s single season record of 62
set in 1998-99, a year Clemson played 35 games on the way to the NIT
championship game. Akingbala has his 59 dunks in 31 games.


Clemson Free Throw Shooting Improved


Through 20 games this year Clemson was shooting 58 percent
from the foul line, next to last in the nation and on pace to be the worst
free throw shooting team in the 53-year history of the Atlantic Coast
Conference.


But, over the last 11 games, Clemson has shot at least 70
percent from the foul line seven times, including a streak of five straight
games, the longest streak of consecutive 70 percent games for the
Tigers in five seasons. Over the last 11 games, Clemson has made 168-
239, a .703 percentage.


Shawan Robinson has been consistent the entire season and
has made .911 for the year on 82-90, fifth best in the nation and on pace
to be the fourth best in ACC history. But, of late, Cliff Hammonds has
made 14-19 (.737), Vernon Hamilton has made 26-35 (.743) and Sam
Perry has made 23-29 (.793).


The improvement was never more important than in the NIT
opening win over Louisiana Tech when Clemson made 20-25 for the
game, including 15-15 inside the last 4:39 of the contest. Hamilton made
9-9 during that time. It was just the fifth game of at least 80 percent free
throw shooting for the Tigers under Oliver Purnell.


The 15 consecutive made free throws were the longest
consecutive made streak by the Tigers this year. The school team record
is 24 in a row by the Tigers in a game against Mercer on Dec. 30, 1992.


Who Will Win Team Scoring Title?


As we come down to the close of the season, there is quite a
battle for the Clemson team scoring lead. Vernon Hamilton and Shawan
Robinson have held the scoring lead for most of the season, but Akin
Akingbala is now in the mix with his recent run of 12 double figure
scoring games in his last 13 contests.


Heading into the second round of the NIT, Hamilton has
scored 369 points in 30 games for a 12.30 average, while Robinson has
380 points in 31 games for a 12.26 average. Akingbala has 368 points in
31 games for an 11.87 figure.


Cliff Hammonds stands at 9.9 points per game for 31 games
and hopes to reach a double figure average for the year. If he scored 14
points in the next game, he will give Clemson four double figure scorers
for the season. Clemson has not had four players average in double
figures for the course of the season since 2001-02.


Significant Team Accomplishments for 2005-06 Tigers


Won 18 regular season games, the most regular season
victories since the 1996-97 season when Clemson won 21 entering the
ACC Tournament. Clemson advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA
Tournament that year.


Posted a 7-9 record against the ACC, the most ACC wins in a
season by a Clemson team since 1997-98, Rick Barnes last year as
Clemson head coach.That was also the last year Clemson went to the
NCAA Tournament.


The 19 wins this season are already the most for a complete
season since 1998-99 when Clemson finished with a 20-15 record on the
way to the NIT finals. Four of Clemson’s 20 wins came in the NIT that
year.


Clemson finished higher in the ACC standings than Georgia
Tech for the first time since 1997-98 and higher than Wake Forest for the
first time since 1989-90. Clemson ended a five-game losing streak
against both schools.


Defeated Maryland for the fourth consecutive time, the first
time Clemson has done that since the 1949-51 era.


Won an eight-team regular season tournament (San Juan
Shootout) for the first time since 1980. Clemson defeated two teams in
the semifinals and finals that have won 20 games this year in Holy Cross
and Akron.


Won a postseason tournament game for the first time since
1999. The Tigers defeated Louisiana Tech in the first round of the NIT by
a 69-53 score.


Scored at least 86 points in three consecutive ACC wins to
close the regular season, the first time Clemson has done that in any
three-game stretch.


Significant Individual Accomplishments in 2005-06


Vernon Hamilton became career steals leader by end of his
junior year with 198. He became the career leader when he had four
against Georgia Tech on March 4, breaking the record of Terrell McIntyre
(194 from 1995-99).


Hamilton established single season Clemson record for steals
and now has 80 for the season, breaking the record of 73 set by Chris
Whitney in 1992-93.


Hamilton is on pace to become the first Clemson player in
history to lead the ACC in steals per game and is 12th in the nation.


Hamilton became the first Clemson player named to the ACC’s
first-team All-Defense team when he was named to the team on March 7.


Shawan Robinson is on pace to become the first Clemson
player since 1966-67 to lead the ACC in free throw shooting. He is
shooting at a Clemson record pace of 91.1 percent, 5th in the nation.


Robinson became the third player in Clemson history to score
200 three-point goals in a career, joining Terrell McIntyre (259) and Will
Solomon (214). He is now third in Clemson history in career three-point
goals (202), sixth in career three-point percentage (3.80) and sixth in
career free throw shooting (.831).


Akin Akingbala has made 58.94 percent of his field goals over
his career, and ranks third in school history, just behind Horace Grant
(59.8) and just ahead of Dale Davis (58.8).

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