Tigers Face FSU Saturday

This is the 42nd meeting between Clemson and Florida State in men's basketball. The Seminoles hold a 23-18 lead, but Clemson has won two of the last three. The two teams have met three times each of the last three years and four of the last five.

* Each of the previous five meetings between Clemson and Florida State in the ACC Tournament, the team that won the most recent regular season game, lost the ACC Tournament game. It happened last year when Clemson won the last regular season game, then lost the ACC Tournament game. The home team has won 11 of the last 12 in the series.

* Florida State won in Tallahassee last year in the first meeting of the season by a 60-59 score. Anthony Richardson scored two free throws 0.4 seconds left to defeat the Tigers. Clemson won the meeting at Clemson by 14 points behind 29 points by Edward Scott.

* Eight of the last 13 meetings have been decided by five points or less or in overtime, including Clemson's 53-48 win at Clemson earlier this year. Three of those close games took place in the ACC Tournament.

* Clemson has a 3-12 all-time record in Tallahassee, including 2-10 in the Leon Country Civic Center. The wins came in 1961-62 (82-77), 1996-97 (76-70) and 1997-98 (78-49). Florida State has beaten Clemson by six points or less seven of the last nine games at the Leon County Coliseum. In fact, seven of the 10 Clemson losses in Tallahassee at Leon County have been by six points or less and Florida State's largest margin of victory over Clemson in the Leon Country Civic Center is 12 points, (102-90) in 1991-92, Clemson's first appearance in the building.

* Leon County Civic Center was a house of horrors for Clemson the last five years. Clemson has lost five games by six points or less five years in a row, including an 88-84 overtime loss. Ironically, Clemson's 78-49 victory in Tallahassee in 1997-98 is Clemson's largest margin (29 points) of victory in an ACC road game in history.

* Clemson's 78-45 win over Florida State at Littlejohn Coliseum in 1998-99 is the second largest margin of victory in Clemson history in an ACC game, trailing only a34-point win over Duke in 1975-76.

* Over the last 20 meetings, Florida State has won 10 times and Clemson has won 10 times. Florida State's average margin of victory over that time is 5.3 points per game (53 points in 10 wins) and Clemson's is 15.3 points per game (153-point margin over 10 wins.). Florida State has eight wins over Clemson by seven points or less during that time, and Clemson has just three wins by six points or less over Florida State during that time.

* Clemson and FSU first met in the 1952 Gator Bowl Tournament in Jacksonville, FL. The Tigers won 62-56 and in fact won the first three games of the series, one in Jacksonville, one in Charlotte and one in Clemson.

* Since Florida State joined the ACC in 1991-92, the Seminoles have won 19 of the 30 meetings. Clemson's top victory in that time came in the 1993 ACC Tournament in Charlotte. Clemson defeated a 10th-ranked Florida State team, 87-75. That victory, led by Clemson future NBA players Sharone Wright, Chris Whitney and Devin Gray, broke a 27-game Clemson losing streak in the Tournament as a lower seeded team. All three scored at least 20 points.

* Clemson is 2-3 against Florida State in the ACC Tournament. Each of Clemson's two wins over Florida State in the ACC Tournament came in seasons the Tigers lost both regular season games to the Seminoles.

First Meeting this Year
Clemson Downs Florida State, 53-48
Point guard Vernon Hamilton keyed a suffocating Clemson defense with five steals, and reserve guard Shawan Robinson led all scorers with 10 points, as the Tigers downed Florida State , 53-48, on January 13, 2004 at Littlejohn Coliseum. It was the first ACC victory for first-year head coach Oliver Purnell. The 48 points scored by Florida State were the fewest by a Clemson opponent this year and the fewest by an ACC team against the Tigers since NC State scored 42 in a 59-42 Clemson victory over the Wolfpack on January 27, 2000.

Purnell's team might have played its top defensive game of the season in gaining the victory. The Tigers held the Seminoles to 37 percent field goal shooting, including 30 percent on three-point attempts (6-20). Leonard Hamilton's team entered the game shooting 47.2 percent overall and an ACC best 41 percent on three-point shots.

"It was all about defense tonight," said Purnell. "We didn't shoot the ball very well, only 35 percent from the field, and we still turned it over 18 times. But we made defensive plays down the stretch. Vernon made two super steals on the defense end that prevented Florida State from scoring and regaining the momentum. It was defense all night."

While both teams were well under their scoring average the teams' attacks were balanced. Clemson played nine players and all nine scored, had at least one field goal and at least one rebound. Florida State played 11 players and no one reached double figures, but eight of the 11 scored.

Robinson led the Tigers with 10 points, including a game best three three-point shots. Lamar Rice, also a reserve, added nine points and five rebounds. Hamilton and Chey Christie added seven points apiece. Hamilton also had seven assists and a season high tying five steals to go with just one turnover in 35 minutes against Florida State's noted perimeter defense.

Michael Joiner, starting senior forward, led Florida State with nine points and seven rebounds and freshman reserve center Alexander Johnson, who also had nine. Tim Pickett, a preseason All-ACC selection, had just eight points on 3-14 shooting, including 2-11 on three-point attempts. Von Wafer, a freshman forward, added eight points and was the only player in the game to score four field goals.

Clemson, ranked second in the ACC in rebounding entering the game, had a +7 rebound margin (38-31) and forced more turnovers than it committed (20-18) for the first time in 10 games. Clemson outscored Florida State 23-17 in points off turnovers, greater than the final margin on the scoreboard.

Clemson jumped out to a 15-7 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, thanks in part to three-point shooting. Clemson scored 10 consecutive points including three-point goals by Robinson and Rice to take the eight-point advantage. Clemson moved the margin to 27-16 with 1:09 left in the half on a pair of free throws by Sharrod Ford, who played 30 minutes despite a cyst problem in his right knee. Clemson held Florida State to just three points in the final 6:30 of the first half and led 27-19 at halftime.

Clemson made just 1-8 shots to open the first half and still had just two field goals over the first 6:30 of the second half, allowing Florida State to take a 30-29 lead with 12:47 remaining in the game. But that would be Florida State's only lead of the second half.

Clemson went on a 15-3 run over a nine-minute period to take a 44-33 lead. Florida State did not score a field goal from the 12:47 mark until the 3:47 mark of the second half. The defense was keyed by Hamilton. With the score 34-32 in favor of the Tigers with 9:37 left, he broke up a 3-on-1 break by stealing the ball from Anthony Richardson, a 6-7 forward who appeared to be headed for a game tying dunk.

"Vernon's steal from Richardson off that break allowed us to keep the momentum," said Purnell. "It was a great play."

Florida State decided to put Clemson at the foul line down the stretch. Clemson did not have a field goal attempt in the last four minutes and allowed the Seminoles to get back into the game by making just 9-17 free throws down the stretch. Florida State cut the margin to 51-48 with 14 seconds left when Todd Galloway made a pair of free throws. But, Chey Christie answered with a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds left. Nate Johnson, a 54-percent three-points shooter missed a three-point attempt and when Chris Hobbs pulled in the rebound, Clemson had its first ACC victory of the season.

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