South Carolina State (6-3) at (21) Clemson (11-2)
Tuesday, December 29th, 7:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Ralph Lauro, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Littlejohn Coliseum (10,980) -- Clemson, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: SCSU 4-0, Clemson 6-1. Away Record: SCSU 2-3, Clemson 3-0. Neutral Record: SCSU 0-0, Clemson 2-1. Conference Record: SCSU 0-0, Clemson 0-0. Series Record: Clemson leads, 8-1.
GAME NOTES: The 21st-ranked Clemson Tigers conclude a three-game homestand tonight, as they host the South Carolina State Bulldogs in non-conference play at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers have won their first two games on this homestand in convincing fashion, first trouncing the College of Charleston (94-55) before rolling past Western Carolina (79-57) a week ago. As a matter of fact, since losing to Illinois (76-74) back on December 2nd, Clemson has run off five straight wins, all by double figures. Now at 11-2 overall, the Tigers are set for one final tuneup before opening ACC play against Duke on Sunday.
As for the Bulldogs, they are in the midst of a seven-game road trip that has begun with a 1-2 mark. Most recently, the team took on Iowa, only to fall 82-69 on December 21st. The loss dropped SCSU to 6-3 overall and that mark takes into account a 91-54 beating at the hands of Miami-Florida, an ACC member.
With regard to the all-time series, Clemson owns an 8-1 advantage over SCSU, including a 90-63 whipping in last season's meeting.
SCSU is netting a respectable 71.1 ppg this season, but the team is allowing a slightly higher 73.8 ppg, including 88.0 ppg over its last three outings. Jason Flagler is the team's leading scorer at 13.0 ppg and he also ranks second with 5.3 rpg, while Darnell Porter adds 12.3 ppg and 16 steals. In the team's last game, the Bulldogs allowed Iowa to shoot 56.9 percent from the floor in an 82-69 setback. SCSU made 52.7 percent of its total shots, but was outscored from long range (21-12) as well as at the foul line (17-7). Flagler guided the team in defeat with 14 points, and Porter chipped in with 11 of his own.
Clemson is an explosive and talented squad, averaging a healthy 80.9 ppg behind a solid 49.3 percent shooting from the floor. Trevor Booker is one of the most talented players around and he paces the Tigers in scoring (15.0 ppg) as well as rebounding (9.0 rpg). Tanner Smith adds 10.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg to the Tigers' balanced lineup, while Demontez Stitt logs 9.9 ppg and a team-high 4.2 apg. In the club's prior outing, Booker poured in 31 points and ripped down seven caroms to power Clemson past Western Carolina. Smith tallied 13 points and Stitt finished with 10 and eight helpers. The Tigers shot a scorching 60.4 percent from the floor, while also scoring 22 points off 15 forced turnovers.
The Tigers are the easy choice here and Booker should have his way in the paint, as Clemson rolls to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 92, South Carolina State 60
12/29 10:38:26 ET