CLEMSON -- This will be Clemson's first game against Coppin State since the 1990-91 season. That year Clemson played the Eagles in the first round of a Christmas Tournament at Florida Atlantic University. The Tigers won the game on a tip-in by senior Colby Brown with one second left to give the Tigers a 71-70 win. Fang Mitchell, the coach of the Eagles today, was the head coach for Coppin State in that game as well.
This will be the second of three games against MEAC teams to open the season for Clemson. The Tigers are 19-1 lifetime against MEAC schools, including the victory over Bethune Cookman last Friday night.
Clemson won its 21st consecutive season opener with a 84-55 victory over Bethune Cookman on November 18. Clemson had a 40-point halftime lead (57-17) in gaining the victory. It was the largest halftime lead for the Tigers since the 1985-86 season when Clemson had a 60-14 win over Armstrong State.
Shawan Robinson led the Tigers to the 29-point win over Bethune Cookman with 18 points in just 14 minutes. It marked the first time a Clemson player has had more points than minutes played since the 2000-01 season when Will Solomon had 26 points in 25 minutes. Robinson also had a rare four-point play in the first half of the contest, the first time in two years Clemson had a player convert a four-point play.
Robinson made four three point goals in the opening win over Bethune Cookman and now has 144 for his career. He needs just three more to move into fourth place in Clemson history ahead of Andrius Jurkunas, who had 146 between 1995-99.
"Energy Brothers" James Mays and Sam Perry both had career highs with the number 14 in the win over Bethune Cookman. Perry tied his career high in scoring with 14 points, while Mays had a career high 14 rebounds. In fact, Mays rebound total doubled his previous best of seven set his freshman year.
Clemson picked up where it left off last year in terms of pressure defense and making steals. The Tigers had 17 steals in the contest,led by freshman K.C. Rivers, who had four. Clemson averaged 10.2 steals a game last year to rank seventh in the nation. Clemson had at least double figures in steals in 18 games last year, most in Clemson history.
Coppin State has lost three games to open the season, but each of the last two games have been onepoint losses (Lehigh and at Alabama State).
Coppin State is in the second game of 12 consecutive road games. Among the places Coppin State will visit are games against ranked opponents from UCLA, Oklahoma, Illinois and Michigan State.