Tigers to Play Host to NIT Second Round Game Monday Night
Clemson, SC - Clemson will play host to Mississippi in the second round of the Mastercard NIT on Monday, March 19 at 7:00 PM. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN. Both teams advanced with home victories on March 14, as the Tigers downed East Tennessee State, while Mississippi defeated Appalachian State.
The winner of Monday's game between Clemson and Mississippi will play the winner of Monday's game between San Diego State at Syracuse game. That third round game would be at the home of the highest seeded team still standing. If the #1 seeded Tigers gain victory over Mississippi, the Tigers would play host to the winner of the San Diego State vs. Syracuse game on Wednesday, March 21.
Clemson has a 2-1 lead in the series with Mississippi. This will be the fourth straight meeting between Clemson and Mississippi in a tournament. Clemson won the first meeting at the Poinsettia Classic in Greenville, SC in December of 1965 by an 85-57 score. Clemson won the second meeting at Littlejohn Coliseum in December of 1974 in the first round of the IPTAY Invitational by a 93-80 score. Mississippi won the most recent meeting in March of 1982 by a 53-49 score. That was an opening round NIT game and it is the last time Clemson has lost an NIT game at home. Clemson has won each of its last seven NIT home games.
Clemson enters Monday's game with a 22-10 record, including a 15-0 mark against non-conference teams. It is the most wins by a Clemson team since the 1996-97 season when the Tigers finished 23-10. The Tigers are led in scoring by K.C. Rivers, who has a 13.3 scoring average. He had one of his top games as a Clemson player in the win over East Tennessee State when he had 17 points and a career high 14 rebounds. It was the first double-double of his career. Trevor Booker also had a double-double against East Tennessee State with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
This will be Clemson's fourth game against an SEC school this year. Clemson has a 3-0 record against the league so far this year, wins over South Carolina, Mississippi State and Georgia. This is already the first time Clemson has defeated three SEC teams in the same year.
Mississippi comes to Clemson with a 21-12 record, including an 8-8 mark in the SEC. As far as common opponents are concerned, Mississippi split two games with Mississippi State, lost at South Carolina, defeated Appalachian State, and defeated Georgia.
The Rebels are coached by Andy Kennedy, who is in his first year as the head coach, his second year as a Division I head coach. Kennedy is a 1991 UAB graduate, but he started his college playing career at NC State and played two games against Clemson as a first-year freshman in 1986-87. He also coached against Clemson as an assistant coach for Cincinnati in December of 2003.
The Rebels are led in scoring by Clarence Sanders, a 6-1 senior guard who averages 16.3 points per game. Bam Doyne is a 6-4 senior who averages 15.2 points per game, while Dwayne Curtis averages 12 points per game and a team best 8.3 rebounds per game. Todd Abernethy, who is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game, led the Rebels to their victory over Appalachian State with 18 points. Kenny Williams, a 6-8 forward, added 13 points and 11 rebounds.