Gamecocks First of Two Big Games for Clemson


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - From Cameron Indoor to the Carolina Center, Clemson's two-game
traveling road show continues Wednesday night before a weekend return to Littlejohn
Coliseum.


The Tigers visit archrival South Carolina (8-11, 2-7 Southeastern Conference)
at 7:30 p.m., the first of two crucial games in the next four days for head
coach Larry Shyatt's team.


With a victory Wednesday and another Saturday at home vs. North Carolina,
Clemson would go a long way toward achieving a berth in the National
Invitational Tournament. Two losses and it's likely a moot point.


A split? Clemson would be right back where it started, but with two less
games to play.


But in reality, Saturday's game vs. the other Carolina will only be important
Saturday. Right now it's the hated Gamecocks lined up in their sights, and
Shyatt knows stealing a victory tonight won't be easy despite USC's
much-publicized struggles this season.


"It's easy to forget sometimes that they play a team like Kentucky close, or
should have perhaps beaten a Florida at home," Shyatt said. "I'm sure they
feel the way we do around here sometimes. Fortunately for us, at 12-7 (2-7
Atlantic Coast Conference) we still have some of our early-season goals in
reach."


As mentioned, a victory Wednesday would be a nice step in the right direction
as to keeping those goals alive.


But much like last Sunday's 65-55 loss at Duke, Shyatt expects the Gamecocks
to pressure his team in the frontcourt in an attempt to create offensive
opportunities off their defense. And with a starting guard tandem of Chris
Warren (6-foot-5) and Chuck Eidson (6-7), he worries about that size
differential.


"This is going to be the biggest team we've faced this season (across the
board)," Shyatt said. "They can cause you trouble in the halfcourt, and they
can make it more difficult for our guards to assist in rebounding on the
defensive end."


NOTES


- USC head coach has a 21-7 record vs. Clemson in his career, all but one of
those games during his tenure at Wake Forest. He is 7-0 since Shyatt became
head coach. Shyatt is 2-2 vs. South Carolina, having dropped two in a row.
Clemson has won six of its last eight vs. the Gamecocks.


- The Tigers have buckled down the defense on the perimeter of late, holding
their last two opponents to a combined 7-of-39 from the 3-point line.


- Since 1985-86, Clemson is 5-0 in their first appearance in new buildings
during their first season of operation.


- South Carolina leads the overall series 84-68, including a 52-23 record in
Columbia.


Upcoming ACC Games....


Wednesday, February 12

Virginia at North Carolina, ESPN, 7 p.m.


Cavaliers won season's first meeting 79-72 (Jan 11) for their fourth straight win in the series ... North Carolina leads the rivalry 114-46 and is 57-5 all-time against UVa in Chapel Hill ... In Saturday's 61-60 win over Florida State, UNC freshman David Noel had 11 points, four rebounds and four steals ... over his last three games, Noel is averaging 14.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game while shooting .529 (18-34) from the floor ... Travis Watson had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead Virginia to a 61-58 win over NC State Sunday ... the win was the Cavaliers' second in a row and fourth in the last five games ... Watson moved into 23rd on the ACC's all-time rebound list with 1,005 rebounds.



Clemson at South Carolina, 7:30

The Tigers have won six of the last eight and eight of the last 11 meetings ... seven of the last 13 meetings have been decided by five points or less ... Edward Scott leads the team in scoring (16.4), assists (6.1) and minutes played (38.3) and needs only 12 more rebounds to become only the eighth player in league history to have 1,000 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds in his career ... over the last two games Chey Christie is averaging 21.0 points and 3.5 rebounds.



Maryland at Florida State, RJ, 9 p.m.

Maryland has won four in a row and 14 of the last 15 against the Noles and leads the series by a 21-6 margin ... the Terps won the season's first meeting 89-62 (Jan 11) ...  Maryland's Steve Blake moved into 13th place on the NCAA career assist list with 889 assists ... Blake is second in the ACC in assists (6.9) and is averaging a career-best 11.6 points per game ... Drew Nicholas has scored in double figures all but one game this season and leads the team in scoring (17.8) ... four of the Terps' final seven regular season games are on the road ... After scoring a total of 15 points in FSU's first 19 games, freshman Benson Callier came off the bench to tally a career-high 13 points and pulled down six rebounds in 20 minutes in Saturday's 61-60 loss at North Carolina ... Tim Pickett had his 19-game double-figure scoring streak snapped by the Tar Heels, scoring a season-low eight points.



Georgia Tech at NC State, RJ, 9 p.m.

Tech has won the last four meetings, including a 85-61 decision on Jan. 11, but still trails in the series 41-31 ... NC State has won six in a row at home and are 23-7 all-time against Georgia Tech in Raleigh ... In their first five ACC road games of the year, the Wolfpack has led at halftime in four of them and trailed by only one point in the other ... Julius Hodge leads the team and is second in the ACC in scoring (18.6) and is eighth in rebounding (6.1) ... in its last three games, State has made 59 percent of its two-point field attempts (49-of-83) and on the year has hit on 53 percent of its shots (308-579) inside the three-point line ... The Yellow Jackets have three of their last four and seven of 10 to move into a three-way tie for fourth place in the ACC ... four of Tech's next six games are on the road ... freshman Chris Bosh had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season in Sunday's 90-84 win over No. 8 Maryland.



Thursday, February 13

Duke at Wake Forest, ESPN2, 7 p.m.

The Blue Devils have won the last 14 meetings between the two teams and leads the 90-year-old series 149-72 ... Duke won the season's first meeting 74-55 back on January 12 ... Dahntay Jones scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the second half as Duke extended its home court winning streak to 25 in a row with its 65-55 win over Clemson Sunday ... Jones has led the Blue Devils in scoring in nine of the last 12 games and has scored in double figures in 17-of-19 games this season ... Josh Howard had his fourth-straight double-double, and the 20th of his career, in Sunday's loss at 15th-ranked Marquette ... Howard has scored in double figures a league-high 14 straight games and leads the ACC in scoring at 19.3 points per game ... the Deacons lead the ACC in rebound margin (+12.5) and out-rebounded every opponent this season including 14 games by 10-or-more rebounds.


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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