Big Game in Columbia

CLEMSON -- When Clemson and South Carolina get together tonight in Columbia, don't expect there to be a continuation from the ugly brawl that took place on the football field.

In fact, it will likely be a very clean game because both coaches have spoken to their respective players about it. In basketball, if a player is ejected for fighting, he misses that game plus the next one. The same rule applies for anyone leaving the bench.

"We talked about that situation sometime during the week following the (football fight)," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "We talked about the fight rule in basketball, which is different from that in football. ...

"It's a different sport, it's different teams and all of that. I just don't see that being a carryover. And to be honest with you, I don't see that being a carryover to next year's football game with South Carolina and Clemson. It's one of those things that happened and can happen in a rivalry. I think a lot of things can cause that to happen. I think the officials need to make sure in any emotional game that you control it from the beginning and that kind of thing. So I just don't see that happening, and one of the reasons is because it got such notoriety."

The biggest battle from Clemson's standpoint will be trying to slow down or stop Gamecocks forward Carlos Powell, who scored 23 points in their win last season. It was also South Carolina‘s fourth consecutive win in the annual series.

This season, Powell is averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, both of which lead the team.

"He is the guy that broke the game open last year," Purnell said. "He is a match-up problem because he can do a little bit of everything. I think he is underrated. I think he is awfully good."

On the other side of the court, South Carolina is going to have to contend with the inside play of Sharrod Ford and the outside shooting of Shawan Robinson.

Both have stepped up their play from a past seasons immeasurably.

Ford, a senior, is averaging 13.8 points and 7.5 rebounds, while Robinson leads the team with a 17.5 scoring average. South Carolina senior guard Josh Gonner told reporters a win against Clemson will go a long way toward proving how good the Gamecocks (4-0) really are. But he added that he‘s not getting caught up in the hype either.

"It's just another big game," he said. "When we went there last year, everybody was trying to hype it up to be some major game. I really didn't pay it any mind, even this year. It's just another big team coming in that we've got to take care of. It's not a big story to me." Top Stories