Tigers playing in paradise

CLEMSON - Jerai Grant was bedridden with the flu during Clemson's 87-79 win over Long Beach State in the first-round of last year's 76 Classic.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Long Beach State
WHERE: Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center (3,500) - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 19 (3:30 p.m.)
SPREAD: None
TV: None

But he had nice, comfortable view of the 49ers.

"I saw them play from the hotel room," said Grant, who needs seven blocks to pass John Campbell for seventh all-time in school history. "They're a strong team, but I think we can definitely get them."

Long Beach State returns four starters from last year's squad that finished 17-16 and 8-8 in the Big West to face Clemson Friday afternoon in the first round of the Paradise Jam.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said there were a number of factors that led to the decision to play in this year's tournament.

"Number one was the opportunity to come to the Virgin Islands and allow your guys to experience something they don't get to see very often," he said. "They get to enjoy the weather and the beach. Then, they get the opportunity to play in a tournament that is known throughout college basketball for attracting good teams.

"The other thing is that this tournament is known for is the hospitality that the teams are provided. Teams are treated unbelievably well here, and people know that. It's a great experience for everyone that comes."

Leading Don Monson's group is point guard Casper Ware, who scored 16 points, handed out six assists and had six steals in Monday's 82-65 win over San Francisco.

Two days earlier, the 49ers lost the first game of the season, an 81-65 defeat from San Diego State.

Tanner Smith said Clemson will face an athletic group on Friday.

"They can play. We're in for a fight," he said. "That first game is always the hardest one—getting in there, getting used to the arena, getting used to your daily life down there."

Clemson is undefeated with wins over Southern Conference foes Western Carolina and Wofford.


"The other thing is that this tournament is known for is the hospitality that the teams are provided. Teams are treated unbelievably well here, and people know that. It's a great experience for everyone that comes." (Roy Philpott)
"I think we're ready," Grant said. "I think we are, as a team, more comfortable in the offense. Defensively, we can get down and guard. We just need to keep up the intensity. I think the spirit is there. We're ready to go. We need to stay comfortable—not get complacent."

Demontez Stitt believes everyone's starting to "learn each other's tendencies" in the motion offense that Brad Brownell has employed.

"I feel like we're in good shape. We're learning the offense. We're starting to gel," Stitt said.

This year's appearance in the tournament will be the second time Clemson has played in the Paradise Jam. The Tigers finished second in the inaugural event in 2001, losing 67-65 in the championship to Miami.

A win Clemson into the second-round matchup with the winner of the Old Dominion and St. Peter's, which is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. The losers play on Saturday at 12.

Alabama, Seton Hall, Iowa and Xavier are on the other side of the bracket.

"We're going to have to be ready to bring our energy and get three big wins in a tough environment to play—it's different," Smith said.

PROBABLE STARTERS
Long Beach State (1-1)
G #22 Casper Ware (5-10, 175) - 15.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG
G #3 Gary Plater (6-1, 165) - 12 PPG, 3.5 APG
G #21 Larry Anderson (6-5, 200) - 8 PPG, 4.5 RPG
F #4 Eugene Phelps (6-6, 213) - 11 PPG, 6. 5 RPG
F #20 T.J. Robinson (6-8, 190) - 12.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG

PROBABLE STARTERS
Clemson (2-0)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 9.5 PPG, 3 RPG
G #11 Andre Young (5-9, 170) - 10.5 PPG, 4 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5,210) - 9.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG
F #45 Jerai Grant (6-8,220) - 11 PPG, 5 RPG
F #31 Devin Booker (6-8,245) - 13 PPG, 5.5 RPG

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