Purnell Previews South Carolina

The Gamecocks and Tigers renew their rivalry on the hardwood Saturday night at the Colonial Center in Columbia, SC. <BR>

Opening Comments Regarding South Carolina:
Purnell: Let's talk about Ohio State then we'll move into South Carolina. It was a very important win for our young basketball team. Big win for us in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, we're glad to do our part. It was a great college basketball game to watch. Both teams went after each other, yet I thought it was our defense down the stretch that really put us in position to win. I thought our team showed some resilience by hanging in there and getting the job done. Our ability to handle the ball down the stretch, along with our defense allowed us to win the game at home. Obviously, we don't have time to celebrate or rest because we are playing the toughest opponent we've played all year in our interstate rival. They've got some veterans, led by Powell, Kelly at the point has done a good job. They are a team of athletes; they showed us that last year. They can spread you out and shoot the three, and they are very long. On the defensive side of the floor, I'm sure we'll see some trapping. It's an interesting challenge. Yes, it's an exciting challenge. This is the first Clemson-South Carolina for many of these guys. It's going to be interested, but I'm looking forward to taking the team down there.

Will you address what happened with the football team with your basketball squad?
Purnell: No, we won't. We've talked after that situation, during the week following that incident. We talked about the fight rule in basketball, which is different than football. We do have a unique rule in basketball, if you are involved in a fight; you are suspended for that game, and also for the next game. Anyone who leaves the bench, gets the same penalty. I just wanted to make sure our guys understand the difference.

Do you have a better sense of the rivalry now then last year?
Purnell: I've certainly learned a lot about the rivalry from the time I was hired until the game last year. Being in the state of South Carolina, watching other athletic events, and listening to people talk. I recognize that it's a very tense rivalry.

Can you talk about Carlos Powell and how difficult it is to stop him?
Purnell: He's the guy that broke the game open here. He's a match up problem because he can do a little bit of everything. I think he's underrated. He's awfully, awfully good.

Was it their trapping last year that led to the 27 turnovers?
Purnell: I'm sure that was a part of it. They played a little 2-2-1 that bothered us. It was the fifth game in. That was something that plagued us all year long. Nobody really realized last year how good they were at that point. They are long, athletic, quick, and we couldn't get anything easy. Dave will mix it up on you. If you are tentative or inexperienced then you are going to have some problems. You want to attack those traps.

Do you feel like you match up better with South Carolina this year?
Purnell: Probably better than last year, but on the other side of it, the game is on the road.

Stay tuned to CUTigers.com for live coverage of the Clemson-Carolina basketball Saturday from the Colonial Center, including an extensive preview Saturday morning, and complete recap of the game Saturday night!

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