The game will tip off at 8:30 PM Eastern time, 7:30 PM in Texas. Clemson enters the contest with a 16-15 record, but the Tigers have won five of their last eight games with the only losses coming to North Carolina (twice) and Georgia Tech. Texas A&M is 19-9 for the season and has won four of its last six, including wins over NCAA Tournament teams Iowa State and Texas Tech.
Clemson last appeared in the NIT in 1999 when it advanced to
the championship game at Madison Square Garden. Clemson defeated
Georgia, Rutgers, Butler and Xavier before losing to California
61-60, a loss that was suffered on the last possession of the game.
This will be the fifth meeting between Clemson and Texas A&M
in basketball, the first since the 1996-97 season. Clemson holds a
3-1 advantage in the series that dates to the 1969-70 season, and has
won three in a row. Texas A&M won the first meeting in the
consolation round of the Sun Bowl Carnival in December of 1969.
Clemson then won the second meeting, 82-79 in double overtime at the
Great Alaska Shootout in December of 1982. Clemson sent the game
into overtime when the late Milan Belich made a three-point goal at
the buzzer of regulation, the first three-point goal in the history
of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball.
The Tigers won at Clemson in 1994-95 by a 66-41 score behind freshman
Iker Iturbe, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rick Barnes third
Clemson team then won a rematch two years later in College Station by
a 76-64 score behind 21 points from Terrell McIntyre and 17 from Greg
Clemson enters the NIT led by senior center Sharrod Ford, who has a
15.3 scoring average and an 8.3 rebound average. He ranks in the
top 10 in the ACC in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal
percentage and was named third-team All-ACC. Shawan Robinson, a
second-team All-ACC Tournament selection after scoring 41 points in
two games against Maryland and North Carolina, is the second leading
scorer with a 10.8 average. Freshman Cliff Hammonds is a third Tiger
averaging in double figures with a 10.1 average and has already
established Clemson freshman records for games started and minutes
Clemson has made a six-victory increase over last year when it
finished 10-18. It is the best victory increase from one season to
another since the 1986-87 season. The Tigers own victories over
Ohio State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and three wins over
Maryland. It is the first time in school history that Clemson has
won three games in the same year from Maryland.
Texas A&M's 19 wins include triumphs over NCAA Tournament teams
Oakland, Texas, Iowa State and Texas Tech, and NIT team Missouri.
They rank 14th in the nation in field goal percentage and field goal
percentage defense in addition to a #11 ranking in three-point goal
shooting percentage. The Aggies average 74.1 points per game and
rank 20th in the nation in scoring margin.
The Aggies are led in scoring by Antoine Wright, a 6-7 forward who
is averaging 18.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Acie Law IV is
second among Aggie scorers with a 12.7 figure, while Joseph Jones is
a 6-9, 260-pounder who is scoring 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per
game. Jones is a freshman from Normangee, Texas.
Billy Gillespie is the head coach of the Aggies. On Feb. 28 he was
named the National Coach of the Week by ESPN's Dick Vitale for Texas
A&M's consecutive wins over Iowa State and Texas Tech. The Aggies
ended Iowa State's seven game winning streak.
Clemson has a 3-0 record in games played on March 16 over the
years and all three of the wins have come in postseason play. The
Tigers defeated St. Mary's in 1989 in the NCAA Tournament in Boise,
ID, downed Tulsa in the 1997 NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, and
defeated Rutgers at Rutgers in the 1999 NIT on that date. It is the
only date between January 1 and April 1 that Clemson is undefeated.
Clemson - Texas A&M Notes
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