Tigers Head to Virginia

Despite all the recent turmoil, the Clemson basketball team has a chance to do something which it hasn't done in nine years – win its first two conference games.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Virginia
WHEN: Noon, Saturday
WHERE: University Hall
TV: Jefferson Pilot

It was already somewhat of an accomplishment when the Tigers beat Florida State Wednesday to notch their first win in a conference opener since the 1997-98 season.

But to win its first two, which Clemson could do with a win Saturday afternoon at Virginia, would really be something special for this team.

After all, the Tigers are just 8-44 lifetime in their first ACC road game of the year.

"It's going to be a tough ball game for the simple fact that Virginia has been sitting there for almost a week preparing for us," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said. "They're really looking forward to their home opener in ACC play."

And while it would appear that getting a win over the Cavaliers (6-5, 0-1 ACC) would be not too difficult, just consider that Clemson (12-2, 1-0 ACC) is 9-31 in Charlottesville.

"If you've been in this league at all, you understand the kind of intensity level that (the fans) can generate," Purnell said. "That poses a few challenges for us to go up there and try to match their energy and effort. And if we do that, I think we've got a chance to win the ballgame.

But Purnell is more concerned about his team than what the Virginia fans or team does.

Clemson needs to shoot better than it did against the Seminoles to have a shot at winning. Shooting 21 percent in the second half and going 9-of-30 from three-point range isn't going to cut it.

"I think it's obvious we didn't play very well offensively," Purnell said. "We didn't shoot the ball well and we turned it over too many times, but defensively we were outstanding, I thought."

To try and get some firepower on the court, Purnell inserted guard Shawan Robinson into the starting lineup against Florida State. It was his first start since midway through last season.

Robinson, a senior, is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game. He and point guard Vernon Hamilton (11.9 ppg.) are the only two Clemson players averaging more than 10 points a game.

Clemson (12-2 overall, 1-0 ACC)
PG 3 Vernon Hamilton (6-0, 195) 11.9 ppg, 3.6 apg
G 25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 197) 8.8 ppg, 3.1 apg
C 33 Akin Akingbala (6-9, 240) 9.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg
F 32 Sam Perry (6-5, 208) 7.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G 22 Shawan Robinson (6-2, 180) 11.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Virginia (6-5 overall, 0-1 ACC)
PG 44 Sean Singletary (6-0, 174) 17.4 ppg, 4.5 apg
G 2 J.R. Reynolds (6-2, 197) 14.9 ppg, 3.0 apg
C 33 Jason Cain (6-10, 212) 8.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg
F 11 Laurynas Mikalauskas (6-8, 241) 5.6 ppg, 4.7 apg
F 24 Mamadi Diane (6-5, 185) 8.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg

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