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Tigers Need Win Tonight

Clemson will face off against East Carolina this evening in Littlejohn Coliseum. <BR><BR> <center><b><a href="http://livestats.clemsontigers.collegesports.com/livestats/data/m-baskbl/284417/" target="new">Live Stats</a> | <a href=http://mb.scout.com/bclemson.communityChat>Premium Chat</a></b></center>

If there ever is such a thing as a tune-up game, Clemson's contest tonight against East Carolina is it.

The Tigers (8-3) are home after a disappointing trip to Hawaii, where they went 1-2 in the Rainbow Classic, and a solid performance against East Carolina (4-6) could help cure any lingering ills Clemson might have from its trip to paradise.

Then, if that weren't enough, there is that little game on Jan.2, against some team in the Atlantic Coast Conference named Duke. Clemson could use any little bit of confidence gained prior to taking on the Blue Devils.

And a big win against the Pirates could help provide that. Game time is 7 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Net South.

One thing is certain, if the Tigers want to look sharp heading into its conference opener Sunday, the outside shooting is going to have to improve, and in particular, the shooting of Shawan Robinson.

Clemson shot 40 percent from the field and was just 2-of-12 from 3-point range in its loss to Georgetown in the final game of the Rainbow Classic. In the Tigers' other tournament defeat which came against Alabama-Birmingham, they shot 43.5 percent from the floor. In their win against Indiana State, they nailed 53.1 percent of their shots.

For the tournament, Clemson was 9-of-41 (22 percent) from 3-point range. Things have certainly got to improve.

For Robinson, a junior, things have been even worse. Over his last five games, Robinson has made just 14-of-47 shots from the field and just 6-of-26 from 3-point range.

One steady force has been the outstanding play of forward Sharrod Ford, who has stepped up his play while most of his teammates have struggled.

Ford, who leads the team averaging 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds a game, has made 40 of his last 65 shots from the field.

Clemson wants to work on its inside-outside combination. In Hawaii, it was mostly just the inside play that played well.

East Carolina comes in having not played a game in nine days, with its last contest being a 57-53 loss to South Carolina in the Coors Classic in Mobile, Ala. The Pirates should be somewhat rusty as a result of the long layoff.

The Pirates are led by sophomore Mike Cook, who continues to be among the leading scorers in Conference USA, ranking ninth with 16.0 points per game average. Cook had a career-best 24 points against South Carolina.

With increased minutes this season, junior Corey Rouse is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

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