Inexperience All Around

CLEMSON – To say that there's going to be a bevy of youth and inexperience on basketball court Wednesday night at the Bi-Lo Center between Clemson and Georgia might be the understatement of the year. <BR>

Between the two teams, seven freshmen and two sophomores are expected to fill nine of the 10 starting positions.

And because of all that youth, Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said there's "no telling" what the fans can expect to see between the two teams.

"I think you can expect the unexpected," he said. "Yet at the same time, I think you're going to see a hard-played basketball game. Yet at the same time, it could get ugly."

Several times this season, it has gotten "ugly" for Clemson, especially during Atlantic Coast Conference play. Some like to think it's the play of the inexperienced players.

"You can say it's because of youth, but I think at this part of the season you really can't say it's youth," senior forward Sharrod Ford said. "They're almost sophomores. The season's more than half over."

One probably needs to look no further than to the offensive problems Clemson possesses to figure out why the team has struggled to win.

In 11 league games this season, the Tigers (11-12, 2-9 ACC) trail their opponents in every shooting category.

Clemson is shooting just 41.1 percent from the field, while its opponents are hitting an incredible 50.3 percent of their shots. Also, the Tigers have nailed just 31.3 percent of their 3-point attempts, while the opposition is knocking down 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Moreover, Clemson makes only 60.2 percent of its throws, while the other team makes 66.5 percent.

But even with the poor shooting, the Tigers have been ahead or within a few points in the closing minutes. They just haven't been able to pull out as many victories as they would have liked.

"There's an obvious hump we've got to get over," Purnell said. "It's not approaching games that our issue, it's finishing off games."

Maybe with a good performance in Wednesday night's game against the Bulldogs (7-14, 1-10 SEC) will be what Clemson needs to get over that proverbial hump.

"They could see this game to get them back on track," Ford said of Georgia. "We've got to think that way too." Top Stories