Tigers, Illini to Tangle Early Sunday in Second Round NIT Action

by - 2014-03-21 16:33:45.0

Photo by Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

CLEMSON, S.C. - In its earliest tipoff since the 2011 Diamond Head Classic opener, Clemson hosts Illinois Sunday at 11 a.m. in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Gates open at 9:30 for the first matchup between the Tigers and Fighting Illini since the 2009 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Sunday's winner moves on to the NIT quarterfinals to take on the winner of Friday's game between Belmont and Robert Morris.

CLEMSON (21-12) vs. ILLINOIS (20-14)
Tipoff: Sunday, March 23 (11 a.m.)
Tickets: http://bit.ly/1gjaswQ
Radio: CTSN (Pete Yanity-pbp; Roy Philpott-color)
TV: ESPN (Rich Hollenberg-pbp; LaPhonso Ellis-color)
• Clemson and Illinois meet for the first time in the postseason, and for the fifth time in the series. The Illini have a 3-1 advantage all-time over the Tigers, including the most recent meeting in Clemson in the 2009 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
• The Tigers are coming off their 10th straight home NIT win, 78-66 over Georgia State. K.J. McDanielsK.J. McDaniels
Jr. Forward
#32 6-6, 200
Birmingham, AL

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matched career highs with 30 points and 14 rebounds, while adding five blocks.

CU Series W-L record: Illinois leads 3-1
Streak: Illinois won the most recent meeting

• The winner of Sunday’s game takes on the winner of Belmont and Robert Morris on Tuesday, March 25 at either 7 or 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
• Clemson’s eight-game improvement in the win column from last season is tied for the second-best jump in school history. The record is a 10-game improvement by the 1937-38 team that went 16-7 one season after recording a record of 6-15.
• For the first time in its history, Clemson has two players with at least 60 blocked shots in the same season.
• K.J. McDaniels currently has top-10 single season marks in Clemson history for points (575), free throws made (148), blocks (91) and dunks (48).
• Over the last nine games, Damarcus HarrisonDamarcus Harrison
Jr. Guard
#21 6-4, 200
Greenwood, SC

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has posted seven double figure scoring efforts and averaged 12 points per game. He is shooting 46 percent from the floor during that stretch.
• Redshirt freshman Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
RS Fr. Forward
#5 6-7, 215
Alpharetta, GA

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suffered a bruised leg in the win over Georgia State, and is likely out for Sunday’s game against Illinois.

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