Temple (1-2) vs. Clemson (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 21, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: TD Arena (20,562) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Temple 0-1, Clemson 3-0. Away Record: Temple 1-1, Clemson 0-0. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Clemson 0-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-0, Clemson 0-0. Series Record: Temple leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers will try to stay perfect on the early season as they square off with the Temple Owls in the opening round of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena.
The winner of Thursday's game takes on the winner of Davidson vs. Georgia in the second round on Friday.
Fran Dunphy's Owls are off to a slow start. Since defeating Penn by five points in their season opener, the Owls have suffered back-to-back setbacks to mid-major foes in Kent State (81-77) and Towson (75-69). Temple came up short in the most recent loss to Towson despite a strong showing from Anthony Lee, who tallied 20 points and nine rebounds in the setback. Lee had registered double-doubles in his first two outings of the 2013-14 season. Temple will be looking to claim its first in-season tournament title since the 1998 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Clemson has won its first three games convincingly to give the school its first 3-0 start since the 2010-11 season, which was coach Brad Brownell's first with the team. The Tigers coasted past Stetson (71-51) and Delaware State (58-37) before their impressive, 71-57 domination of a much improved South Carolina squad on Sunday. K.C. McDaniels was sensational, recording 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Tigers over the Gamecocks.
Clemson and Temple meet for the first time since 2008 when they matched up in the inaugural year of this very same event. The Tigers knocked off the Owls in the Charleston Classic championship game, 76-72. However, Temple still holds a 2-1 all-time series lead.
The Owls will continue to have trouble if they cannot find a way to carry momentum into the second half of their games. Temple, which also let a halftime lead slip away versus KSU, finished the first half on an 11-5 run and led Towson, 36-31, at the intermission. The Owls made 15-of-29 field goals attempts in the opening 20 minutes while holding Towson to just 11-for-35 shooting from the floor. Once again, Dunphy's squad faltered down the stretch as it knocked down only 38.5 percent of its field goal tries over the final 20 minutes and finished the game with a 47-37 disadvantage in rebounding. In addition to Lee, Will Cummings contributed 18 points to go with five rebounds and five assists, and Quenton DeCosey scored 12 points. After scoring 15 in his season debut versus KSU, Dalton Pepper had a poor showing with only seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the floor.
The Tigers came close to the school record in free-throw percentage their last time out as they converted 24-of-26 at the charity stripe. They also played intense defense as South Carolina finished 23-of-65 from the field and just 1- of-10 from beyond the arc. Jordan Roper netted 15 points, including 8-of-8 at the charity stripe. Rod Hall added another 14 points. The Tigers' bench accounted for 34 points as they ran off to lead by as many as 18 in the second half. While McDaniels is clearly the key player for Clemson with averages of 17.3 point, 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks, Roper and Hall are each contributing 10.3 points and 3.7 assists per game.
McDaniels should be able to find some success on the interior against Temple, which had no answer for Towson's star forward Jerell Benimon in its last outing. However, the Owls are never an easy out and they have seemed to step of their game in tournament play in recent years.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 66, Temple 63
11/21 10:34:31 ET