Previewing UTEP

The Clemson basketball team will spend Christmas in Hawaii this year, playing in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

WHAT: Clemson vs. UTEP
WHERE: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) - Honolulu, HI.
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 22 (2:30 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson -7

Up first on the docket is a showdown with UTEP on Thursday afternoon. The Tigers and Miners will tip-off at 2:30 [EST].

Led by second-year head coach Tim Floyd, UTEP is 4-5 with wins over UC-Riverside, New Mexico State, Southern and McNeese State. The losses were to Texas-San Antonio, New Mexico State, Stephen F. Austin, Oregon and UNLV.

A season ago, the Miners won 25 games, advanced to the postseason NIT and played in the Conference USA Tournament Championship Game.

"The competition will be good," said head coach Brad Brownell. "I know that UTEP has a young team, but Coach (Tim) Floyd is very good. So this will be a good tournament for our guys. We need to play well."

UTEP is led by Gabriel McCulley, who's averaging 12.8 points per game. Also in double figures are Julian Washburn [11.3] and Michael Perez [10.7 PPG].

The local tip-off time of 9:30 a.m. will be the second earliest in Clemson basketball history. The 9 a.m. start to a game against Chaminade Nov. 24, 1998, which the Tigers won 72-60, is the earliest.

With a win, Clemson would play the winner of the Kansas State, Southern Illinois game at 5 p.m. [EST] on Friday. The losers play at 3 on Friday.

"I've seen Kansas State, and they're really good and very physical and really athletic and strong and tough," Brownell said. "I have not seen Southern Illinois, but Chris Lowery and I went to high school together. I know how he coaches, and he coaches like I coach with a lot of motion offense and physical defense."

On the other side of the bracket are Long Beach State, Xavier, Auburn and Hawaii.

All-time, Clemson is 1-3 against UTEP, 11-14 versus Auburn, 2-0 versus Long Beach State, 1-1 against Kansas State and 1-0 versus Hawaii and Xavier.

UTEP (4-5)
G #11 Jacques Streeter (6-0, 175) - 6.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG
G #24 Michael Perez (6-3, 180) - 10.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG
G #10 Julian Washburn (6-7, 205) - 11.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG
F #23 Gabriel McCulley (6-7, 225) - 12.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG
F #31 John Bohannon (6-10, 210) - 7 PPG, 5.3 RPG

Clemson (6-4)
G #4 Rod Hall (6-1, 210) - 4.1 PPG, 1.1 RPG
G #11 Andre Young (5-9, 170) - 13.7 PPG, 3.6 APG
G #5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 210) - 9.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG
F #24 Milton Jennings (6-9, 225) - 8.7 PPG, 5 RPG
F #31 Devin Booker (6-8, 245) - 9.9 PPG, 7 RPG Top Stories