WHAT: Clemson (11-8, 3-4 ACC) vs. NC State (13-8, 4-4 ACC)
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 28 (9 PM)
WHERE: PNC Arena (19,722)
TV: ACC Network (Bob Rathbun-pbp; Mike Gminski-color)
SPREAD: N.C. State by 8.5
Clemson enters Wednesday night's matchup at N.C. State looking for its first win in Raleigh since the 2009-10 season.
The Tigers travel to Raleigh with some momentum, having won two of their last three games to improve to 3-4 in the ACC. Most recently, Josh Smith scored the game-winning putback with 0.5 seconds left to give Clemson a two-point come-frome-behind win over Wake Forest.
"It was a grinder," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell tells CUTigers. "But we made some plays late that we didn't make against Florida State the previous time out. Our defense is getting better but that will obviously be tested in hostile environment Wednesday night in front of 18-19,000 people."
Clemson’s defense has been among the ACC’s best in conference play so far this season. The Tigers are No. 1 in three-point percentage defense (.303) in league games, and second in scoring defense (61.1) and field goal percentage defense (.400).
Those stats, however, will be tested against an explosive N.C. State backcourt that features a pair of transfers from the SEC in Trevor Lacey (Alabama) and Ralston Turner (LSU).
Lacey averages nearly 17 points per game while Turner, a noted three-point specialist, is close to 14 points per contest.
"Lacey and Turner give them experience and scoring in the back court," Brownell said. "We've got to be ready for their quickness and defend their entire team at a high level."
Brownell is 3-3 all-time against N.C. State, including a 73-56 win over the Wolfpack at Littlejohn Coliseum last season.
Jordan Roper is likely to make his second start of the season in the backcourt after being inserted into the starting five in the win against Wake Forest Saturday.
Roper gives the Tigers a more viable scoring threat, even though he's not as good defensively as Demarcus Harrison.
"Truthfully this probably isn't the best matchup for Rope," Brownell said. "But he gives us a spark offensively and we need to see more from D-marc. I'm not as big everyone else on who starts and who doesn't, but we'll probably start Roper and see how it goes from there."
Tigers face N.C. State tonight
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