Clemson - Virginia Tech Notes

The Tigers look to improve to 2-2 in the ACC.

Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Series
This is the first meeting between Clemson and Virginia Tech since the 1994-95 season when the two schools met in Blacksburg, VA in the first round of the NIT. Prior to that meeting it had been 23 years since the two schools played a home-and-home series during the 1971-72 season. They also played a home-and-home series in the 1970-71 season. The home team won all four games of the series during those two years.

Clemson and Virginia Tech first met on Feb. 26, 1925 at Clemson. The game was played at a small facility that was located in the current parking lot between Fike Fieldhouse and the Clemson tennis center. It was the season finale for the Tigers, who dropped a 27-13 decision to the Hokies. Clemson had just a 4-14 record that year.

Clemson gained its first win in history over the Hokies 11 years later, a 46-32 victory in Blacksburg on Feb. 5, 1936. It was the last victory of a seven-game winning streak for Clemson.

The two teams did not meet again until the 1960s. The two teams met during the 1966-67 season, a 70-68 Clemson win that was also played in Blacksburg. It was the last of eight consecutive road games for Bobby Roberts Tigers. Clemson had a 17-8 record that year, a team that would have gone to the NCAA Tournament by today's standards.

Clemson and Virginia Tech played 10 games between 1966-72 and the Hokies won six of the 10. Virginia Tech has an 8-5 overall lead in the series, including 5-2 in Blacksburg. Clemson's last win in Blacksburg took place in 1967 when Clemson gained the two point victory mentioned above.

Last time Out
Clemson 56, Florida State 54
Olu Babalola scored on a 15-foot bank shot from the right elbow with 2:08 left and Clemson's defense held strong over the remainder of the game in the Tigers 56-54 victory at Florida State on January 12. It was the first ACC road win for Clemson Head Coach Oliver Purnell and just the fourth ACC road win for the Clemson program in the last 50 ACC road games dating to 1998.

Cliff Hammonds led the Tigers with 12 points, while Sharrod Ford added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds in just 20 minutes. Shawan Robinson added 10 points and did not commit a turnover in 33 minutes. Babalola added eight points for the Tigers, who equaled their victory total from the previous season with the win.

Florida State was led by Alexander Johnson, who scored 20 points, but the rest of his teammates scored just 34. Clemson's defense held Florida State scoring leaders Adam Waleskowski and Von Wafer to a combined 10 points, and forced the Seminoles into 22 turnovers with 12 steals.

Florida State out-shot Clemson from the field, three-point line and foul line, yet the Tigers won the game. It was the first time in seven years Clemson had done that. Rebounding was the key as Clemson won the boards 35-25, including 18-5 off the offensive boards, leading to a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points.

Florida State jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the opening nine minutes of the game as Clemson's offense struggled. Clemson did not score over the first 6:17 and the Tigers made just 1-9 from the field to open the game. Vernon Hamilton got the Tigers back in the game by scoring seven of Clemson's first 11 points of the game, including a three-point goal that was Clemson's first field goal of the game.

Clemson took a 16-15 lead on two free throws by Cliff Hammonds, who was playing in front of his hometown fans. Florida State had turnover problems, allowing Clemson to extend the lead to 27-26 at halftime. A three-point goal from the deep left corner by Babalola with 44 seconds remaining was a big play for the Tigers, giving Clemson a 27-23 lead.

While Clemson had problems in the first five minutes of the second half in some of its recent games, the Tigers took command early in the second half of this contest against Florida State. The Tigers went on a 10-2 run to open the half thanks to a pair of three-point goals by Robinson and two field goals by Ford. Clemson led 37-28 with 16:46 to go. Florida State cut the lead to 46-44 on a field goal by Johnson with 8:27 left, then Von Wafer tied the game at 52 on his only three-point goal of the game with 4:26 left.

Robinson gave Clemson a 54-52 lead with 3:40 left on a jumper, but Johnson tied the game at 54 with two free throws with 2:44 left. Clemson worked the ball on the next possession, then had to take a 30-second timeout after a loose ball with just three seconds left on the shot clock. Babalola took the in-bounds pass and nailed a jumper near the end of the shot clock to give Clemson its 56-54 lead.

Florida State got the ball back after Hammonds missed what would have been a game clinching jumper. With five seconds left the Seminoles took a timeout. They set up a three-point shot for Wafer from the left corner, but Akin Akingbala jumped off Johnson to defend the shot, which missed, giving Clemson the victory.

Clemson Earns ACC Road wins
Clemson earned an ACC road win when the Tigers defeated Florida State in Tallahassee on January 12. Road wins have been hard to come by for Clemson historically. Here are some facts to show how big a win it was for the Clemson program.

Just the fourth ACC road win for Clemson in the last 50 ACC road games. The others took place at NC State in 1999-00, at Georgia Tech in 2000-01, and at Virginia in 2002-03.

Clemson earned its 60th all-time ACC road win in its 52nd year in the ACC. Clemson is now 60-285 on the road in ACC player over the years, a 17 percent winning percentage.

It was just the third win for Clemson at Florida State's Tucker Center in history in 14 tries, the first since the 1997-98 season. The Tucker Center had been a "house of horrors" for Clemson as the Tigers had lost seven games by six points or less there since the 1993-94 season.

It was just the second January ACC road win for Clemson since the 1997-98 season. The only other January ACC road win since that year was at Georgia Tech in 2001-02.

A Road Win at Virginia Tech would Mean
Clemson had won back-to-back ACC road games for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Clemson won at Florida State on Jan 11, 1997, then won at Maryland on January 15, 1997 (eight years ago today).

Would give Clemson two ACC road wins in the same week, also for the first time since 1996-97 and just the fifth time in Clemson history.

Would give Clemson two ACC road wins in the same season for the first time since the 1997-98 season and just the fifth time since Clemson won the ACC regular season in 1989-90.

Tigers Out-shot in Every Area...and Win
Clemson's win over Florida State on January 12 was a landmark accomplishment in many ways. One statistical oddity stands out. Florida State out-shot Clemson in overall field goal percentage (.472 to .351), three-point percentage (.308 to .272) and free throw shooting (.696 to .556), yet Clemson won the game, 56-54.

This marked the first time since the 1997-98 season that Clemson had won a game in which it was out-shot in all three shooting categories. That year Clemson won at NC State, 77-72, when it was out-shot in all three areas by the Wolfpack.

So, how did Clemson gain victory over Florida State when it was out-shot in all three areas? Rebounding and scoring off second-chance opportunities seemed to tell the story. Clemson won the overall rebounding 35-25, including an 18-5 margin in offensive rebounds. That led to a 17-2 advantage in terms of second-chance points, Clemson's largest margin in that area all season.

Two Road wins by Two Points or Less
When Clemson defeated Florida State on January 12 it gave the Tigers two road wins by two points or less this season. The Tigers downed Florida State 56-54 when Von Wafer's game-winning three-point attempt missed with three seconds left. Back in December at Columbia, SC, Clemson defeated South Carolina in overtime when Cheyenne Moore's three-point attempt with 3.4 seconds left, swished, giving the Tigers a 63-62 win in overtime.

You have to go back to the 1986-87 season, Horace Grant's senior season, to find the last time Clemson won two road games by two-points or less in the same year. That year Clemson defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta 67-66 on a right corner jumper by Michael Tait with four seconds left. Clemson later won at Maryland 80-79 on a three-point shot by Michael Brown with eight seconds left.

Winning close games on the road has not been a common occurrence for Clemson over the years. The Florida State win marked the first time since the 1996-97 season that Clemson won a game by two points or less on an opponent's home court. That year the Tigers won 55-53 at Georgia Tech on Tech's Senior Day. The two occurrences this year and that victory at Tech in 1996-97 mark the only times Clemson has won a road game (any, not just ACC) by two or one points since the Tigers won the ACC Regular season title in 1989-90.

Since the ACC was formed for the 1953-54 season, this is just the seventh season in which Clemson has won two road games by two points or less in the same season. The other years were 1983-84, 1986-87, 1966-67, 1963-64, 1962-63 and 1959-60. Overall, Clemson has won just 15 ACC road games in history by one or two points.

Hammonds Delights Home Fans
Clemson's leading scorer against Florida State was Cairo, GA native Cliff Hammonds. It was a special night for Hammonds because Cairo is located just 35 miles from Tallahassee. Hammonds had over 50 friends and relatives from his hometown attend the game and support him on during the contest.

Hammonds responded by leading the Tigers in scoring with 12 points on 4-8 shooting overall, including 2-4 from the three-point line and 2-2 from the foul line. He also added three rebounds, two steals, two assists and just one turnover in 36 minutes of play.

Hammonds provided a key spark for the Tigers in the second half when he scored eight consecutive Clemson points. First, he hit a jumper with 10:46 left to put Clemson up by seven at 43-36. Later, after FSU had cut the margin to two, he nailed a three-point shot at 8:48 to put Clemson back up by five. At the 8:08 mark he put Clemson up by five again with another three-point goal from the same spot.

It marked the second time Hammonds had led Clemson in scoring this year, the first time in a victory. The 6-3 guard scored a season high 22 in a loss to UAB in Honolulu in December.

For the season, Hammonds is averaging 9.9 points per game, second among ACC freshmen. He is shooting 44 percent from the field and 37 percent on three-point goals, and leads the Tigers in playing time with 28.7 minutes per game. His defense on the perimeter was a big reason Florida State made just 4-13 three- point shots, including just 1-6 by leading scorer Von Wafer. Florida State entered the game shooting 39 percent on three-point attempts and Wafer had made 20 three-point goals over his last five games. Top Stories