Tigers Not Looking Past Florida St.

by - Senior Writer -

The Clemson Tigers are coming off one of the biggest wins in school history in last Wednesday’s 74-47 dismantling of 4th-ranked Duke, but head coach Oliver Purnell said on Friday that it is time to put that game in the rear view mirror and look ahead, starting with Saturday’s visit by the Florida St. Seminoles.

“Obviously, we are coming off an emotional win over Duke, a game in which we played extremely well,” Purnell said. “It was probably our best performance of the year. But it is just as obvious that we need to put that game behind us and file it away. Take the lessons we learned on preparation and readiness and apply them.

“We need to understand that game will not help us against a very good FSU team that comes in playing well. They had a big win last night and have had an excellent year. I am sure they will be looking at this game as a chance to move up in the standings and move into the high echelon because they are only one game behind us.”

The Seminoles improved to 17-5 overall and 4-3 in the ACC with Thursday night’s 62-58 win over Georgia Tech. They were led by guard Toney Douglas’ 21 points, 16 of which came in the second half. It was the sixth consecutive game that Douglas has scored 20 or more points, and he has averaged 25 points per game in that span.

“They certainly pose myriad problems for us,” Purnell said. “They have a strong front line, and Toney Douglas is the best, or one of the best, guards in the ACC. They have depth and are certainly athletic. They are a quality team, and shoot the ball well from the free throw line. It all adds up to another tough ACC matchup. We have to be prepared to have an opportunity to win.”

However, the Seminoles are not known for their offense, with Douglas their only player averaging in double figures. Chris Singleton is next at 8.5 points per game. The Seminoles have averaged 68.2 points per game on the season.

"We are not a great offensive team - call it like it is," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We're a team with Toney and a lot of guys who can score 6, 8, 9 10 points a game."

The Seminoles will provide a challenge for the Tiger offense, however, ranking second in the league in scoring defense (63.1 ppg), and second in field goal percentage defense (.378). Soloman Alabi has 43 blocked shots, second in the ACC to Clemson’s Trevor Booker (53).

“They play defense several different ways,” Purnell said. “They sag some, but they play most of the time according to the matchups. They go way out on the Perimeter, and they clog the passing lanes and look for steals.”

A victory over Florida State will give Clemson 20 wins for the third year in a row. It would mark the first time in school history Clemson has won at least 20 games three straight years.

A victory over Florida State would give Clemson a 6-2 record at the midway point of the ACC schedule. It would be the best record at the halfway point of the schedule since 1996-97 when Clemson was 6-2.

Clemson is ranked 10th in both polls this week. It is the first time Clemson has been ranked in the top 10 in a poll after February 1 since the final poll of the 1996-97 season when Clemson was eighth in the final USA Today poll.

A victory would tie the Clemson record for quickest run to 20 wins. The 1986-87 team also did it in just 22 games.

Trevor Booker is 29-40 from the field in his career against Florida State. He had 29 points on 10-12 field goal shooting in last year’s Clemson double overtime win against Florida State in Littlejohn Coliseum. That is his high point total in an ACC game for his career.

Over the last three games, all Clemson wins, Trevor Booker is averaging 17 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Clemson is coming off 27-point victory over Duke, Clemson’s largest victory margin over the Blue Devils since 1975. It was the largest margin of defeat for Duke against any opponent since a 30-point loss to UNLV in the national championship game on April 2, 1990. It was Duke’s largest margin of defeat in an ACC game since 1984.

K.C. Rivers went over the 1500-point mark in the win over Virginia Tech. He now has 1534 for his career and is the ninth player in Clemson history to go over 1500 points. He needs just five three-point goals to become Clemson’s all-time leader. Terrell McIntyre had 259 and Rivers has 255.

Rivers had seven steals vs. Duke to tie a Clemson single game record. He now has 192 career steals more than any other active ACC player.

Booker has 195 career blocked shots, more than any other active ACC player. He currently leads the ACC in blocked shots per game and is second in rebounding and field goal percentage.

Clemson has a 19-2 record, the first time since 1986-87 Clemson has won 19 of its first 21 games.

Clemson has six wins over RPI top 50 teams this year, tied for fourth in the nation. Five of the six wins have come away from home.

Clemson is 7th in the RPI and Florida State is 28th entering Saturday’s game.

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