Tigers Desperate for Win

Tonight's game isn't exactly the easiest opponent for Clemson to break out of its ACC losing streak. <BR>

After all, Maryland comes into Littlejohn Coliseum following big wins against ranked teams Duke and Georgia Tech.

Moreover, the 22nd ranked Terrapins have beaten Clemson 13 consecutive games, which is the second longest active streak by one ACC team over another. The largest is Duke's 18-game winning streak over the Tigers.

Clemson (10-10, 1-7 ACC) hasn't defeated the Terps (13-5, 4-3 ACC) since Rick Barnes coached the Tigers.

"We don't have a lot of time to get ready for a Maryland team that has played its last two ball games extremely well," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "They come in here with a lot of confidence, obviously."

Clemson enters tonight's game with another dubious streak intact. The Tigers have finished the first half of the ACC schedule eight straight years with a record of 2-6 or worse.

But considering the Tigers have played against four teams currently ranked in the top seven, and another that was ranked at one time earlier in the year in the top 10, so many overall losses are certainly understandable, though not easy to take.

"I think that anytime you haven't won very many league games or very many games, it's difficult on everyone," Purnell said. "The one thing that I think is clear to all our players is we're not defending well enough to give ourselves an opportunity to win."

And while the defense of the Tigers has struggled of late, if things are going to turn around, forward Sharrod Ford also has to maintain the type of play he's displayed in his last two games, where he's averaged 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Ford needs just 28 points to become the 29th player in Clemson history to score 1,000 points.

But the senior does need to improve on his free throw shooting, where he went 1-for-8 against N.C. State Saturday. The team was also bad, which went 1-for-8 in the second half.

"If we're going to get him the ball, he's got to deliver for us at the free throw line," Purnell said. "It certainly was something we emphasized in practice with him and will do so again."

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